Thursday, June 29, 2017

Outbreak Fund Paid $37.8 Million to Victims, $6.2 Million to Lawyers

By Walter F. Roche Jr.

An annual report by the trustee of a fund to benefit victims of a deadly 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak shows some $37.8 million has been distributed to 2,022 victims while a nearly equal amount could be issued later this year.
The lengthy report from Lynne F. Riley was filed today in U.S. District Court in Boston, Mass. It covers the 12 month period ending on May 31 of this year.
Though the names of victims are not disclosed, the report shows the largest single payment to a victim or survivor of a victim was $142,692. The smallest was $649.61. The average payment was $18,694. Sixty of the victims collected $100,000 or more.
The fund was created under the bankruptcy of the New England Compounding Center, the now defunct firm blamed for the 2012 outbreak of fungal meningitis. According to federal officials some 778 patients were sickened by fungus infested methylprednisolone acetate from NECC. Seventy six of those patients died.
The checks issued to victims represent about half of what each victim is expected to ultimately receive when the next distributions are made. In prior reports the trustee indicated a third round of payments may come still later.
Riley also listed $6.2 million in disbursements to law firms from a so-called common benefit fund set up to pay lawyers who did work for the benefit of all victims.
The largest amount, $1.25 million, went to the lead plaintiff firm Hagen Berman Sobel and Shapiro. Ellis and Rapacki was paid $775,725, while Branstetter Stranch and Jennings was paid $730,146 and Janet Jenner and Suggs collected $518,912.
The law firms, like the victims, will be getting a second round of payments approximately equal to the first
Riley's report also provided details on additional payments made to victims who were treated at three facilities.
Payments totaling just under $2 million were made to 13 victims treated at a North Carolina clinic while $10.6 million went to 39 claimants at a New Jersey facility and $31.5 million went to 163 victims treated at a Virginia facility.
Additional expenses for the national fund include $293,611 paid to the Duane Morris law firm and Paul Moore, the post bankruptcy confirmation officer. The fund had $74.4 million on deposit as of the end of the 12 month period.
Riley reported that a total of 2,353 claims were filed for the national fund and 2,022 of those were fully or partially paid while 289 were fully denied. Forty were found invalid and two were withdrawn.

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