USA: Mass. veterans home COVID-19 outbreak results in $58M settlement

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — A federal judge on Monday signed off on a $58 million settlement for victims of the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak at the Soldiers Home in Holyoke, Mass., the largest of its kind nationwide.

The class action lawsuit was filed in July of that year against ousted leaders of the state-run home, plus gubernatorial appointees in charge of veterans’ and health and human services for the commonwealth. The approved settlement figure crept up from $56 million after three more families were added to the lawsuit, according to plaintiffs’ attorneys.

Northampton, Mass., lawyer Thomas Lesser’s voice became choked with tears near the end of his presentation to U.S. District Judge Mark G. Mastroianni during the morning’s final settlement hearing.

“If we hadn’t filed this lawsuit, it very well might have never been brought — and that would have been a black mark, a blot on our system of justice. These veterans deserved to have their claims heard, and they more than deserve the compensation they will receive,” Lesser said in front of a small group of family members of veterans stricken with the virus in the spring of 2020, when 84 lost their lives.

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