Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Clinic Wants Meningitis Cases Returned to Tennessee
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
A Tennessee clinic wants the 24 cases filed against it by victims of the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak moved back to a federal court in Tennessee.
In a 22-page brief filed on the eve of a key hearing, lawyers for the Specialty Surgery Center (SSC) of Crossville, Tenn. are asking for the cases to be transferred from federal court in Boston, Mass. to U.S. District Court in Nashville, Tenn.
U.S. District Judge Rya Zobel, who has been presiding over dozens of cases stemming from the outbreak in her Boston courtroom, has set a hearing for tomorrow (Wednesday) to hear arguments over which cases will remain in her court and which may go back to their home districts.
In the brief filed by the clinic's attorney, Chris J. Tardio, the clinic argues that it makes no sense to hold trials in the 24 Crossville cases more than 1,000 miles from home.
Sending the cases back to Tennessee, the brief states, is "unquestionably the most efficient and fair way forward in the SSC cases."
Noting that the evidence common to all the meningitis cases already has been completed in Massachusetts, the filing states that "Tennessee is the appropriate venue for trial."
Zobel also must decide whether meningitis cases from Maryland and New Jersey should remain in her court or be sent back to courts in those two states.
Several dozen cases against the Saint Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgical Center in Nashville, Tenn. are likely to remain before Zobel although there have been recent hints a settlement may be in the works for those cases.
Still other cases in which a small number of claims have been filed against clinics across the country are likely to be sent back to their home states.
As for keeping the SSC cases in Boston, Tardio's brief states, "This defies common sense and runs counter to relevant venue law."