Monday, August 15, 2016
Tort Trustee Opposes Fund Release Motions
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
The trustee of the $200 million victims' fund in the fungal meningitis litigation is asking a judge to deny three motions that would, if granted, force the quick release of funds to victims within 30 days.
In a motion filed on the eve of a key hearing, Lynne Riley, the trustee, argued that approval of the motions would be counterproductive and could result in a smaller amount of money being available for victims.
"The requested relief would have the counterproductive effect of delaying (not expediting) distributions and could diminish tort trust assets available to plaintiffs," her motion states.
Riley said that were the money to be distributed immediately the victims' fund could be depleted by claims for damages from those who have liens against the trust.
"The tort trustee has efficiently and effectively supported the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee and lead counsels efforts to globally resolve the public and private liens and preserve opt out for claimants," the motion states.
The filing comes just ahead of tomorrow's hearing before U.S. District Judge Rya Zobel who has agreed to hear argument in her Boiston, Mass. courtroom for the release of funds to victims within 30 days.
Riley's arguments echoed concerns expressed by lead counsel for plaintiffs, who also have urged Zobel to deny the motions.
She also stated that some victims can still expect to get payments before the end of the month.
Lawyers for victims from Virginia, Tennessee, Indiana and Michigan filed the motions for immediate release citing the fact that victims have been waiting nearly four years for some compensation.
The outbreak caused by fungus laden steroids sickened 778 patients, killing 77 of them.