New Jersey Settles Veterans-Home Death Claims for $53 Million

New Jersey officials agreed to pay about $53 million to the families of state-run veterans-home residents to settle claims that managers in the facilities acted with gross negligence in fending off the coronavirus pandemic, according to a state official and a lawyer for the families.

The settlement covers claims by kin of 119 residents, most of whom died during early 2020 Covid-19 outbreaks, at the Menlo Park and Paramus Veterans Memorial Homes, amounting to an average of $445,000 per family, the people said.

$500k dog bite settlement sheds light on victim-friendly laws in N.J.

As he walked out of his office around 5:30 that July morning, Samuel Akinsanya heard growling in the hallway. A Rottweiler and pit bull had escaped from a cage in the Elizabeth factory where he worked the overnight shift as a security guard. Before Akinsanya could react, the dogs pounced.

“They jumped at me. I was trying to fight. I was trying to defend myself but they were biting me all over my body,” Akinsanya, 43, said in a phone interview Friday. He said he fought the animals “for almost an hour before police came to rescue me.”

The attack, which occurred in 2010, was so vicious that Akinsanya, who lives in Newark, was left in a coma-like state, intubated in a hospital bed, for 10 days. He was bitten over most of his body, and suffered muscle damage and permanent scarring.

The pit bull choked itself to death because it was thrashing around so much when police tried to subdue the dog. The Rottweiler was eventually returned to its owner.

N.J. pays out millions in sexual harassment cases

Soon after joining New Jersey’s corrections officer academy, Gina Marie DiPasquale was taken aback by what she saw as blatant harassment of female trainees.

DiPasquale, an instructor at the Sea Girt academy, complained to her superiors about sexually offensive cadences used in training, verbal obscenities, inappropriate touching of female trainees by male instructors and other issues, according to court documents.

As a result, she was called a “psycho-b—” and “snitch” by co-workers. She was also subject to on-the-job retaliation, sex and gender discrimination, sexual harassment and a hostile work environment, according to court documents.

Fed up, she filed suit against the state in 2005 and resigned. Last year, she agreed to accept $415,000 from the state to settle the case. As part of the settlement, the state admitted no liability on behalf of its employees.

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