February 10, 2015 — Two years after a deadly outbreak of fungal meningitis, lawsuits against clinics and doctors who administered tainted steroid injections have been centralized in a federal court in Massachusetts.
A panel of federal judges created a Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2419), transferring two lawsuits into one federal court in Massachusetts, overseen by Judge Rya W. Zobel.
The lawsuits were filed by two victims of the meningitis outbreak, Donna Hosea and James Allen. They accuse doctors and clinics of negligence for administering non-sterile injections that were ordered in bulk to save money, rather than custom-made for their individual prescription.
The litigation is likely to grow because dozens of healthcare facilities in 23 states administered the tainted injections. Several healthcare providers opposed centralization of the lawsuits, but federal judges disagreed.
At least 64 people died and another 751 developed meningitis or other severe infections. They were all treated with epidural injections at outpatient facilities for the treatment of back pain and/or joint pain.
The injections were made by New England Compounding Center (NECC). NECC has declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy and $18 million was seized by the federal government.
In December 2014, the owners and head pharmacist pled guilty to criminal charges, including murder and racketeering. According to Law360, up to $200 million could be available for victims of the outbreak.