By Walter F. Roche Jr.
The liquidation plan for the bankrupt firm responsible for a deadly fungal meningitis outbreak has officially gone into effect.
Trustee Paul D. Moore filed notice this week in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Massachusetts that a required waiting period passed on June 4 and the plan Moore crafted is officially in effect. Only one objection had been filed to the plan.
In a related action federal prosecutors have moved to seize a boat and a BMW owned by Barry Cadden, one of the owners of the company subject to the bankruptcy.
The finalization of the plan clears the way for procedures to go forward to distribute up to $215 million, most of which will go to the hundreds of victims of the 2012 outbreak caused by fungus tainted steroids shipped across the country by the New England Compounding Center.
Even as that notice was filed, yet another victim, this one from California, stepped forward seeking a share of the bankruptcy proceeds.
A request to file a claim despite the passage of a deadline, was filed in behalf of Lidia Tashima who said she was injected with an NECC steroid by a physician from the Sequoia Orthopaedic and Spine Institute in Visalia, Calif.on Aug. 9, 2012.
In the filing Tashima's lawyer argued that she had never been informed of the deadline for filing a claim.
According to court papers, Tashima filed a suit against both the clinic and NECC. While the NECC claim was transferred to federal court, the clinic claim has continued in state court.
The filing states that Tashima and her husband suffered severe mental and physical anguish after learning that she was injected with a fungus tainted drug. It does not claim that she contracted fungal meningitis.
Her claim is one of only a few from California patients who contend they were victims of NECC's tainted drugs.
The $215 million amassed by Moore comes from payments by the owners of NECC, affiliated firms, insurance companies and firms that provided services to NECC.
Moore has stated that he is hopeful victims can begin to collect payments by the end of the calendar year.
The outbreak sickened 778 patients, killing 76 of them.
Cadden and 13 other owners and employees of NECC are facing criminal charges including several counts of second degree murder. All have entered not guilty pleas and are awaiting trial.