Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Claims Notices Going to Saint Thomas Victims

By Walter F. Roche Jr.

The administrator of a settlement fund for Nashville, Tenn. area victims of the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak has begun notifying victims that they must formally submit their claims by the end of the year.
The victims will be sharing in a settlement in excess of $20 million reached in negotiations with the Saint Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgical Center, where they were injected with fungus tainted spinal steroids shipped from a  now shuttered Massachusetts drug compounding firm.
Attorneys for victims confirmed today that their clients had begun to receive letters, which were mailed out earlier this week.
Details of the settlement have not been made public. The agreement with Saint Thomas Health and the Howell Allen Clinic, the co-owners of the outpatient neurosurgical center, came before any of the more than 100 cases could go to trial.
Attorneys for both sides have declined to discuss any details, citing confidentiality agreements.
The Nashville notices come as victims from across the country, including the Nashville area, are getting notices of awards from a national settlement fund created in the bankruptcy of the New England Compounding Center. According to state and federal regulators NECC was the source of the contaminated vials of methylprednisolone acetate.
In a related development federal prosecutors in Boston, Mass. have filed notice that they are appealing the recent decision by U.S. District Judge Richard Stearns to dismiss charges against three former NECC employees. The appeal will be made to the First Circuit Court of Appeals
Stearns dismissed charges against Kathy Chin, Michelle Thomas and Alla Stepanets. The three were among 14 owners and employees of NECC indicted in late 2014 after a lengthy grand jury investigation of the 2012 outbreak.
Stearns concluded that the roles played by the three did not reach the threshold required for criminal charges.
The two defendants facing the most serious charges, 25 counts of second degree murder, are scheduled to go on trial early next year. Glenn Chin and Barry Cadden have entered not guilty pleas to the second degree murder and other charges.

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