Meningitis Outbreak Sparks Many Lawsuits - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Meningitis Outbreak Sparks Many Lawsuits

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by Adam Ghassemi

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It has been a never ending saga. Every day the number of people infected keeps growing.

"This is just a catastrophe," said Nashville attorney Randy Kinnard who filed the first meningitis-related law suit in Tennessee for Janet Russell of Hendersonville. Russell is still recovering.

His firm, Kinnard, Clayton & Beveridge, now represents 20 victims, including three deaths and one person who is paralyzed.

"This is very unusual to get this kind of a wave, almost a tsunami like situation in the medical field. It's very unusual," Kinnard said.

Thursday health officials confirmed the fungus behind the outbreak was found in unopened vials of steroid medication made at the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Massachusetts. Earlier this week, FDA investigators raided NECC, which is accused of mass producing drugs, even though it wasn't licensed to do so.

At this point, no one seems to know what assets or insurance the compounding pharmacy has. If they go belly up Kinnard says medical facilities that sold the drugs could be liable.

"Hypothetically if this company is declared insolvent there are other potential sellers of the product that potentially there could be responsibility with them," he said.

After the cases are settled he hopes for change to restore confidence with patients who are now left to wonder.

"Some governmental entity, I believe, Congress will get something passed and hopefully stop this kind of thing from happening in the future," he said. "They can feel comfortable knowing what I'm going to have injected into me is safe."

Kinnard agrees with previously reported legal opinions. It is in a patient's best interest to file individual cases in Tennessee circuit court, versus class action law suits elsewhere. He says each case is different because every person is hurt differently.

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