ROWLEY — A Maryland-based lab filed suit this week against Sea View Skilled Nursing & Rehab Services, alleging the nursing home has yet to pay its bill of more than $60,000 for COVID-19 testing from employees at the facility.
The lawsuit, filed Monday in Salem Superior Court, alleges that Sea View on Mansion Drive has an outstanding balance of $62,231 plus interest and late fees for employee testing by TridentCare of Sparks, Maryland.
Numerous attempts to collect the debt have been fruitless, leading lab officials to seek the help of the court, according to the lawsuit.
Sea View owner Steve Comley Jr. caused a stir in September when he threatened to close the facility if the state forced him to vaccinate all workers before October 10. As of Wednesday, the business remained open.
When asked for comment on Wednesday, Comley declined to talk about the lawsuit, except to say it was “settled.”
However, Comley’s claim could not be confirmed. A Salem Supreme Court clerk said the lawsuit remained active as of Wednesday afternoon, but no court date has been set. A call to a TridentCare spokesperson went unanswered.
In September, Comley claimed that 25% of his 50 or so employees refused to be vaccinated, a decision he said he had no moral right to enforce.
“I believe they have a right to make that choice,” Comley said. “We are not in prison and we are not yet a socialist country.”
Sea View Skilled Nursing & Rehab Services has been owned by the Comley family since 1954. The family is licensed to care for up to 140 residents and in September there were about 30 residents.
Sea View entered into an agreement with TridentCare on June 5, 2020 to test facility employees for COVID-19 for $155 per test.
Sea View agreed to pay any invoice sent to it by TridentCare within 30 days and also agreed to pay a 5% delay fee and 1% interest per month on outstanding balances, according to the lawsuit.
Although Sea View paid for many of the tests, it still has to pay $62,231, excluding interest and late fees. TridentCare made “several attempts” to collect the money, but to no avail. Those attempts include spending money on lawyers and additional costs.
“Sea View has refused to meaningfully respond to TridentCare’s repeated payment requests, or otherwise make additional payments owed by TridentCare for the services TridentCare has performed under the COVID testing agreement,” the lawsuit reads.
The lawsuit includes a breach of contract claim that caused TridentCare to suffer damages.
“Sea View appreciated and understood the benefit of the goods and services TridentCare provided, but did not compensate TridentCare for their value of the benefit TridentCare provided,” the lawsuit said.
In addition to collecting its debt, TridentCare is asking the court to award damages and costs related to pursuing the lawsuit, along with other provisions the court deems appropriate, according to the lawsuit.
Dave Rogers is a reporter at the Daily News of Newburyport. Mail him at: [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @dryers41008.