Thursday, October 20, 2016
Amendment Sought to Ease Payments to Victims
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
Citing the recently negotiated multimillion dollar settlement with a Nashville clinic, lawyers for victims of the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak are asking a judge to modify an existing order to facilitate payments to victims treated at that Tennessee facility.
In a five-page petition filed today, plaintiffs lawyers asked U.S. District Judge Rya Zobel to give additional parties access to records of the outbreak victims treated at the Saint Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgical Center.
Stating that "additional clinic settlements have been reached with the Saint Thomas defendants," the petition states that the additional access to lien information is needed to facilitate payments from that settlement.
Currently, according to the petition, the information, which is protected under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, can only be accessed by the lead plaintiff attorney and the tort trustee.
The terms of the settlement with the clinic and related parties has not been made public but sources say it is in excess of $20 million
The motion was filed by Nashville attorneys Ben Gastel and Gerard Stranch and Boston attorney Thomas Sobol.
Some payments to victims have been made from the remaining balance of a $200 million trust fund amassed in the bankruptcy of the New England Compounding Center, the company that shipped fungus infested steroids to hundreds of health care providers in some 20 states.
A total of 103 victims who were injected at the Nashville clinic have filed claims against the clinic and related parties.
Nationally 778 patients were sickened and 77 of them died in the outbreak.