Monday, November 21, 2016
Lawyers Submit $12.5 Million NECC Fee Request
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
Lawyers for victims of a deadly 2012 meningitis outbreak are formally seeking approval for payment of $12.5 million in fees and expenses including three last minute additions.
A proposed order authorizing the payments was submitted today in U.S. District Court in Boston, Mass. and it is expected to be considered at a Dec. 8 hearing before U. S. District Judge Rya Zobel.
The fees would go to lawyers who served on a plaintiffs steering committee in the litigation stemming from the fungal meningitis outbreak. If approved the payments will come out of a $200 million fund created in the bankruptcy of the New England Compounding Center, the now defunct firm blamed for the deadly outbreak.
In submitting the proposed order, lead attorney Thomas Sobol noted that no objections were filed to the payment proposal since it was introduced over a month ago.
New fees included in the motion total $8,398.90 and are earmarked for accounting and other services.
In a development in a related criminal case, the two defendants charged with 25 counts of second degree murder are asking for a hearing before U.S. District Judge Richard Stearns in an attempt to force prosecutors to disclose what evidence they plan to present to support the homicide charges.
Barry Cadden and Glen Chin were indicted on those charges and others following a lengthy investigation of NECC by a federal grand jury. The two are scheduled for trial early next year. Lawyers for Cadden and Chin wrote in a 10-page memorandum that they had reviewed 12 million pages of evidence and reviewed notes from hundreds of interviews but found nothing that would justify a second degree murder charge.
"It is increasingly evident that there is no ...evidence," the motion states.
The two attorneys did concede there was evidence "supporting the conclusion that these people died as a result of being injected with methylprednisolone acetate that was compounded at NECC and became contaminated."
"But," the memo states, "there is no evidence of anything Cadden or Chin did to cause the contamination of these drugs."
Charging that prosecutors overreached in an effort to "craft the biggest possible case," Cadden and Chin's attorneys cited grand jury testimony of an investigator for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration who acknowledged that he was just speculating about the possible source of the contamination.
The FDA, the motion states, was "unable to find any of the fungus believed to be responsible for the contamination" despite a thorough examination of NECC's Framingham, Mass. facilities.