The daughter of a beloved London man allegedly killed by a long-term care facility nurse plans to launch a civil lawsuit.
Susan Horvath, daughter of Arpad “Art” Horvath, has retained counsel with the London law firm Cohen Highley LLP, just two days after the accusation by Woodstock, Ont. police that Arpad’s 2014 death at age 75–and those of seven other seniors–were due to drugs administered by a nurse.
Elizabeth Wettlaufer, 49, was charged Monday with eight counts of first degree murder following the deaths of seven patients at Woodstock’s Caressant Care home and Arpad’s death at Meadow Park in London. The deaths occurred between 2007 and 2014, during which Wettlaufer’s LinkedIn page shows employment at the two facilities.
Susan Horvath’s lawyer, William Brennan, said they have not yet decided who the suit will target, but that one of the goals is to protect residents of long-term care facilities in the province from harm moving forward.
“We’re looking at exactly whom we will be pursuing the lawsuit against,” said Brennan. “There’s a lot of different parties potentially involved. And we have to make sure that we identify the parties that are truly responsible for this (alleged) incident, and who’s potentially liable. We don’t just take a shotgun approach and sue everyone at once.”
Speaking to AM980 Wednesday, Horvath said this is about justice for her and other impacted families, who were hit with what she called a “shockwave” this week.
“They’re all wanting justice for this,” she said. “And the only way that I thought justice is going to happen will obviously be through the legal channels.”
A key question for Brennan is how suspicion wasn’t aroused over the seven years the alleged events occurred.
“It doesn’t look like anyone really detected that these murders were taking place, but it may have been information that the nurse herself had told a councillor or a psychiatrist or someone. And it was only then that the police started to investigate. So it’s pretty scary, in my opinion, that you have someone from 2007 to 2014 and eight murders–seven in one nursing home and one in the other. It’s just devastating for our client.”
The allegations against Wettlaufer have not been proven in court. Messages left with her two lawyers were not immediately returned.
Brennan said that he has no evidence to suggest that Ontario’s provincial government was culpable in, but wouldn’t rule out including them in the suit when it’s filed, if necessary.
“(Horvath) wants to know that the government is going to look at regulations, you know whether or not they need new regulations or maybe just to enforce existing regulations more effectively, and just generally more oversight,” he said.
He noted that this suit, which has yet to be filed, could take years, especially as it’s unlikely to proceed until after Wettlaufer’s criminal proceedings run their course.
Horvath said she is prepared for it.
“I know it’s going to be lengthy,” she said. You can imagine (what’s) unfolding. You can imagine–if they’re really going to make a movement here with the nursing homes and they’re really going to get in-depth in this–what things can surface, how many rocks are going to be turned over here. This is definitely going to be a long process.”