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Lawsuit involving disabled foster child moved to Maryland

A federal lawsuit against a Maryland state contractor centered around a disabled foster child who was injured at a troubled group home has been moved from Pennsylvania to Maryland, records show.

Last week, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ordered that the lawsuit against LifeLine Inc., and several state agencies responsible for medical care, be transferred to Maryland's U.S. District Court. The lawsuit was originally filed in February in Pennsylvania by attorney Michael Pisanchyn of Scranton.

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The suit accuses LifeLine Inc. and several state agencies were negligent in allowing 19-year-old David Davis to develop a deep bedsore last May. Davis, who is quadriplegic, contracted an infection that spread to his bones, the suit said.Maribeth Donohue, who has served as Davis' guardian for health and education matters, is named as a plaintiff with the teen.

A spokesman for the state health department, which is named as a defendant along with the Department of Human Resources, declined to comment in February since the lawsuit was filed in Pennsylvania. Officials declined comment Monday, citing ongoing litigation.

The lawsuit also seeks class-action status on behalf of others who were under LifeLine's care — including 10-year-old Damaud Martin, who died at the same Laurel-area home on July 2, 2014, and three disabled adults who died at a separate facility that state regulators closed in 2011.

Davis' injury and three-week hospitalization were caused by LifeLine's inadequate staffing, which allowed the bedsore to develop and led to "the rotting of the flesh," states the lawsuit. Davis was not able to "call out for help or contact anyone" about his injury because of his disabilities, the suit says.

In August, Pisanchynnotified the Maryland treasurer's office that he would seek monetary damages on behalf of Martin and Davis.

A Baltimore Sun investigation found that the state had awarded at least $18 million in contracts since 2010 to LifeLine despite deficiencies in medical care, a founder imprisoned for arson, unpaid taxes, a bankruptcy filing, and police reports of abuse and neglect unknown to regulators.

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