By Walter F. Roche Jr.
A court appointed trustee has reported that 2,018 victims of the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak have had the claims approved and some $77.7 million has been disbursed thus far.
The report by Lynne Riley was filed today in U.S.District Court in Boston, Mass. a day ahead of a status conference scheduled for Thursday before U.S. District Judge Rya Zobel.
According to Riley's five-page report a total of 1,810 checks have been distributed including 206 to victims owed money from separate funds established for claims against clinics that reached a settlement agreement.
Riley reported that she expects that victims whose claims have been approved should expect to receive a second payment of approximately the same amount as the first over the summer.
Riley's report states that 311 claims were "fully denied" and 21 were found to be invalid. Two claims were withdrawn.
She said that 128 appeals have been processed by a federal judge. An additional 18 claims could still be appealed.
The funds being distributed were generated in the bankruptcy of the New England Compounding Center, the company blamed for the outbreak. Some $47.5 million came from owners and officers of NECC and additional funds came from companies providing services to the drug compounder.
Zobel has been presiding over hundreds of victims' cases stemming from the outbreak that sickened some 778 patients in 20 states. Seventy-seven of them died.