Elizabeth Kaveny To Participate In Multidistrict Fungal Meningitis Litigation
On February 12, 2013, the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation entered its first order transferring cases against New England Compounding Center (NECC) into Multidistrict Litigation, to be handled in the District of Massachusetts by the Honorable F. Dennis Saylor IV. Elizabeth A. Kaveny, name partner in noted Chicago plaintiffs’ law firm Burke Wise Morrissey Kaveny (BWMK), was one of the first attorneys in the country to file suit against NECC in Massachusetts on behalf of a number of individuals who were victims in the still-growing outbreak of fungal meningitis traced to contaminated steroid injections. Ms. Kaveny is lead attorney in several such cases, each on behalf of Michigan residents.
With regard to the selection of Massachusetts as the site of the Multidistrict Litigation, Ms. Kaveny supported it as an ideal location for her clients, and more appropriate than Michigan, which was the location sought by the defendants. “Judge Saylor is an experienced Multidistrict Litigation judge and is already vastly familiar with the issued involved in this litigation,” Ms. Kaveny said. “Despite the fact that my clients are Michigan residents, the wrongdoers in these cases are in Massachusetts and Massachusetts has a strong interest in seeing that justice is done for all victims including my clients.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, since September 2012 nearly 700 people in 20 states, including 45 who have died, developed fungal meningitis and other infections due to spinal injections of contaminated steroids that they received as patients. The injections were prepared by New England Compounding Center (NECC) of Framingham, MA. Federal and state regulators found problems at NECC dating to 2003, including evidence of environmental mold and fungus from filthy conditions that created product contamination, as well as bulk distribution of drugs contrary to regulations that require compounding pharmacies to mix custom drugs to order for specific prescriptions.
NECC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December 2012. In January 2013 U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Henry Boroff froze the assets of NECC and its owners at the request of a creditors group that includes fungal meningitis victims, and additional action may be taken against specific defendants. More than 150 injury claims have been filed against the company.
“NECC’s disregard for the safety of patients is unforgivable,” Ms. Kaveny said in an interview with NBC News. “That extends to its officers, directors and employees. These individuals intentionally allowed filthy conditions and contamination to occur, creating a danger that NECC chose to expose to innocent people.”
“Our investigation into the depth of the wrongdoing by NECC and its four owners has only hit the tip of the iceberg,” Ms. Kaveny states. The pain and suffering inflicted upon NECC’s victims greatly exceeds the $70 million that insiders have depleted from the company over the past few years. We will continue in our attempts to seize not only the company’s assets, but those of the individual wrongdoers, until full recovery has been obtained for all our clients.”
Ms. Kaveny during her professional career has obtained numerous verdicts and settlements of plaintiff personal injury and professional malpractice actions, each in excess of $1 million and some at more than $10 million. She is widely respected for her success at securing just compensation for her clients in complex, medically related matters and has been recognized by Illinois Leading Lawyers Network and Illinois SuperLawyers as one of the state’s top personal injury attorneys. Her exceptional care and concern for her clients was featured in the November 2012 issue of Leading Lawyers Magazine.