Meningitis Class Action Lawsuit: 4 Things Listeria Outbreak Victims Need to Know, According to Attorney Fred Pritzker

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The personal injury and wrongful death claims arising from the fungal meningitis outbreak associated with NECC steroids will not be litigated in a class action lawsuit. .

Attorney Fred Pritzker

Attorney Fred Pritzker

Class action cases are generally reserved for commercial claims that do not involve personal injury or wrongful death.

Attorney Fred Pritzker filed a lawsuit on behalf of epidural steroid injection patients against the New England Compounding Center, a compounding pharmacy in Framingham, Mass. (Case 0:12-cv-02625-ADM-FLN Edwards v. New England Compounding Pharmacy, Inc. Complaint). The lawsuit seeks to recover over $75,000 for Pritzker’s client, a woman who was tested for fungal meningitis.

Pritzker did not seek class status for his client. Below are 4 things victims of the fungal meningitis outbreak and recall should know, according to Pritzker.

1. There will be no class action claims involving injuries resulting from NECC injectable steroids, says Pritzker.

Pritzker explains why a class status will not be granted for cases involving personal injury and wrongful death arising from the meningitis outbreak and NECC recall of steroid medication.

“Class action cases are generally reserved for commercial claims that do not involve personal injury or wrongful death. That’s because court rules require that claims and defenses must be common to all cases involving class members. In injury and wrongful death claims, the nature and amount of harm suffered by each claimant varies considerably. In addition, the individuals and companies responsible for the harm suffered by victims of this outbreak may also vary considerably. For example, although NECC may have been the producer of all the contaminated steroids, there may be other responsible parties including the doctors, hospitals or clinics that administered the injections. For those reasons, and several others, it is highly unlikely that victims of this outbreak will be certified as a class.”

2. NECC steroid injection patients can recover money for their harms and losses with multi-district litigation (MDL), not a class action lawsuit, according to Pritzker.

Patients injured by NECC steroids will still be able to make a claim for injury and death caused by adulterated steroids, says Pritzker.

“Patients will file individual claims that are then litigated in the context of multi-district litigation (MDL) rather than an actual class action case,” said Pritzker. “In MDL litigation, many people suffer injury from the same product. Each brings a separate law suit but precisely because there are so many cases involving the same product, court rules allow all those separate cases to be consolidated into one MDL for purposes of gathering information in preparation for taking cases to trial.”

“It is very expensive and time consuming to prepare a complex drug case for trial. Rather than duplicate that expense and take all that time in each of the hundreds or thousands of cases likely to result from this outbreak, one federal judge in one single jurisdiction will be assigned the responsibility for all the pre-trial proceedings involving all the NECC outbreak cases. In that MDL, lawyers from around the country will work together to prepare these cases for trial,” continued Pritzker.

3.     MDL is a cost-effective process that often leads to a global settlement.

Pritzker has won millions for clients whose cases were litigated via an MDL, including over $40,000,000 for clients injured by one unsafe medical product. He explains the benefits of MDL, “Actually, MDL is a good thing. In MDL, the per-case costs go down dramatically. Instead of having to pay for all the experts and litigation costs typically associated with a complex case like this one, you end up paying only a small percentage (because they’re shared with all the other claimants). In addition, when there are so many cases processed together (controlled by one judge), it’s often easier to work out a global settlement.”

4.     NECC steroid patients need a lawyer with experience litigating compounding pharmacy and MDL cases, says Pritzker.

According to Pritzker, NECC steroid patients need a lawyer with a great deal of experience handling cases like this one: an adulterated drug claim against a compounding pharmacy.

“The fact is, very few lawyers in the United States have ever had a case against a compounding pharmacy. In fact, most of the lawyers advertising for NECC cases probably never even heard of a compounding pharmacy before this outbreak,” said Pritzker. “Our law firm, on the other hand, has been litigating cases against compounding pharmacies for many years and has recovered sums in excess of $1 Million for victims of compounding pharmacy errors. That’s why newspapers from around the country have already interviewed and quoted us about this NECC litigation.”

Pritzker explains the need for a lawyer with MDL experience: “MDL cases are complex, expensive and very time consuming. They are among the most challenging cases in the U.S. Our firm has been and continues to be involved in many MDL cases. In one MDL case alone, PritzkerOlsen lawyers obtained over $40 million for our clients.”

Attorney Fred Pritzker has a national practice representing victims of pathogenic adulteration of both food and drug products. His law firm, PritzkerOlsen, P.A., has obtained some of the largest verdicts and settlements in product liability cases. Fred also represented the family of a woman who died from a medication made by another compounding pharmacy. Attorney Fred Pritzker and his Bad Bug Law Team can be reached at 1-888-377-8900 (toll free) for a free consultation regarding a steroid meningitis lawsuit. More information can be found on the law firm's personal injury blog. The firm has offices in Minneapolis, MN.

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