People who contracted hepatitis C in Minot, N.D., last year are suing the nursing home linked to the illness.

Seventy-eight-year-old John Fenner and 84-year-old Lilas Guttormson are seeking unspecified damages from ManorCare Health Services. The plaintiffs’ attorneys also are seeking to make the lawsuit class action. If a judge approves, it would cover all 44 people infected with the virus that can cause serious liver damage and even death.

The state Health Department’s preliminary report on the outbreak says neither the state nor the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could pinpoint how the patients became infected.

ManorCare spokeswoman Julie Beckert says the lawsuit is premature in light of that. Plaintiff’s attorney Mike Miller contends the nursing home was still negligent in its care of patients.