Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Judge Approves First Outbreak Payments to Victims' Survivors

By Walter F. Roche Jr.

U.S. District Judge Rya Zobel today approved the first two awards to come before her for the survivors of patients who died in the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak caused by a Massachusetts drug compounder.
Zobel's approval came during a session in her Boston, Mass. courtroom, on petitions submitted by the the attorney representing both families. Her approval was necessary under Virginia's wrongful death statute.
The three survivors of one victim will share $169,651.92, while the three survivors of the second victim will share $469,964.49.
The payments are coming from funds totaling some $210 million amassed in the aftermath of the outbreak caused by fungus tainted steroids shipped to health providers across the country by the New England Compounding Center.
About $120 million of the total came from settlements in NECC's bankruptcy and additional funding came from settlements with health care providers who injected patients with the fungus laden steroids.
The total award in one case approved today by Zobel was for $805,622.88 with 40 percent going to attorney J. Scott Sexton, $12,182 going to legal and other expenses, leaving $156,654.83 going to each of the three beneficiaries.
In the second case the total award was $290,786.77, with attorneys fees totaling $116,314.71, other expenses $4,801.18, leaving $169,651.92 to be split between the three survivors in shares of $56,550.54 each. The victim in the case died in October of 2012.
Both victims were injected with methylprednisolone acetate from NECC and administered at Insight Health, which is contributing $40 million of the $210 million total.
Additional payments could come at a later date from the NECC bankruptcy settlement.
Other payments, not requiring court approval, are being made by the attorney appointed as trustee of the payment funds, Lynne Riley. She has stated that checks began to be mailed some two to three weeks ago.
The outbreak sickened 778 patients, killing 77 of them.

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