Saturday, August 6, 2016
Judge Dismisses Product Liability Claims on Clinic
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
In a ruling that was not unexpected, a federal judge has dismissed product liability claims against a Tennessee clinic by victims of the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak.
In a decision issued Friday in Boston, Mass. U.S, District Judge Rya Zobel concluded that Tennessee's health care liability law trumped claims under the state's product liability statute.
The decision effects some 24 suits filed by patients of the Specialty Surgery Center in Crossville, Tenn.
As she noted in the brief decision, Zobel previously ruled out product liability claims in more than 100 suits filed against the Saint Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgical Center in Nashville, Tenn.
"Given that the statutes conflict only the latter (Health Care Liability Law) may apply," Zobel wrote in the three-page decision.
The decision means the cases will go forward on the health care liability claims alone.
In another development lawyers for victims of the outbreak filed a list of 58 cases filed against health care providers across the country by outbreak victims which are now going to be sent back to the courts where they originated.
Nearly all of the lawsuits stemming from the outbreak had been consolidated in Zobel's court, but now they are being sent back to courts from Nevada to New Jersey for final resolution. The transfers become effective when Zobel signs the proposed order.
The suits are the result of the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak caused by fungus tainted steroids shipped across the country by the now defunct New England Compounding Center. The outbreak sickened 778 patients. Seventy-seven of them died.