By Walter F. Roche Jr.
BOSTON, Mass.- Cases brought by victims of the fungal meningitis outbreak against a Maryland pain clinic are moving forward and lawyers for both sides have agreed on two of the cases that should be tried first and serve as templates for the remainder.
Competing lists were submitted this week in U.S. District Court and the final decision on which cases will go first and serve as so-called bellwethers will come from U.S. District Judge Rya Zobel, who is presiding over remaining civil cases stemming from the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak.
Lawyers for both the Box Hill Clinic in Abingdon Md. and the victims submitted four names each, two among victims who died and two for victims who survived. The initial cases, called bellwethers, are supposed to serve as templates for the resolution of the remaining cases.
On both lists were Bahman Karshi, who died and Belinda Dreisch who survived.
On the list of survivors submitted by victims' lawyers were Dreisch and Angela Farthing. In addition to Karshi, the plaintiff lawyers submitted the name of Meghan Handy as its second deceased victim candidate.
Karshi's son testified recently in the criminal trial of Barry Cadden, the one time president of the company blamed for the 2012 outbreak. He said his father, who lived in California, got the injection at the Abingdon clinic while visiting him.
Also testifying at Cadden's trial was Ritu Bhambhani, who operates the pain clinic. She was one of several professionals of pain clinics where outbreak victims were injected brought here to testify for federal prosecutors.
She testified that when Cadden called her to inform her that a recall had been initiated, he assured her that there was nothing to worry about and the recall was initiated out of an excess of caution after a doctor noticed some discoloration in a single vial of methylprednisolone acetate.
Farthing, a guidance counselor, was one of a group of outbreak victims who were invited to attend Cadden's trial at government expense. The victims were brought in for a week at a time to watch the proceedings.
Other cases recommended by attorneys for Box Hill were Evelyn Bowman, who did not survive the outbreak, and Teresa Davis, who did.
Meanwhile jurors considering the racketeering and second degree murder charges against Cadden are scheduled to resume deliberations tomorrow (Monday) morning.