Massachusetts

Man Died From COVID-19 After Protocols Ignored on Film Set in Mass., Family's Lawsuit Claims

The family of Paul Woodward, who worked as a van driver for a crew in Provincetown during the filming of "American Horror Story" in 2021, has filed a lawsuit against 20th Century Fox, Ryan Murphy Productions and The Walt Disney Company

NBC Universal, Inc.

A family from East Bridgewater, Massachusetts, filed a federal lawsuit against three production companies on Wednesday, claiming their father died from contracting COVID-19 while on set.

According to the lawsuit, Paul Woodward was a van driver for the crew out in Provincetown during the filming of "American Horror Story" in the spring of 2021.

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The lawsuit claims Woodward was not provided with a plexiglass divider in his vehicle and that COVID-19 protocols were not followed.

"He passed away on the morning of our 25th anniversary," Paul's wife, Patricia Woodward, told NBC10 Boston. "So that day instead of going out to dinner or having champagne, I had to go to the funeral home and look for a casket for him."

Patricia Woodward said that Paul initially tested negative for COVID-19 while on set, but after becoming more and more ill, his son picked him up and drove him to the hospital.

It was there that he tested positive for the virus and spent about five weeks before passing.

"To see him the way he was like that was really kind of harrowing," said his son, Redmond.

His 23-year-old daughter, Harley, explained that she was a student at Cornell University and had difficult getting home, so there was no real goodbye.

"I used to go to school in the area," she said. "If I had been here, I would have at least been able to see him in person that one day. So it's been really hard for me."

According to the family's attorney, Jonathan Sweet of Keches Law Group, Paul Woodward's death was preventable.

The lawsuit names the defendants as 20th Century Fox, Ryan Murphy Productions and The Walt Disney Company.

"The limits to the occupancy of his van were ignored, people weren't wearing masks. These were people from all over the country, primarily California," Sweet said. "The complaint, which was filed yesterday, seeks to hold these Hollywood production companies accountable for their decision to run an unsafe production set here in Massachusetts."

As for the family, they said their goal is to make sure companies protect their employees.

"We just want some awareness to be made of the situation so something like this doesn't have to happen again to anybody else, because this has certainly been the worst time of our lives," said Redmond Woodward.

NBC10 Boston reached out to the defendants listed for comment on the lawsuit, but has not yet heard back.

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