Reporting Beth Germano
BOSTON (CBS) – Nearly a year after a nationwide meningitis outbreak, a multi-party lawsuit is moving forward suing New England Compounding Center in Framingham with negligence.
NECC is being investigated as the manufacturer of steroid shots contaminated with black mold that were distributed to medical facilities in at least 23 states exposing thousands of patients to fungal meningitis. More than 60 have died. Attorneys representing some 300 plaintiffs in multiple states have hearings before federal and bankruptcy judges in Boston to move the suit forward and add additional defendants. Already named are NECC co-owners Barry Cadden, Lisa Cadden and Greg Conigliaro, but attorney Peter McGrath says they are also pursuing the maintenance company of the Framingham building, the company that oversees the cleaning of the facility, and at least thirty pain clinics.
“I think the plaintiffs will see some compensation,” said McGrath, but the fact that the owners have filed for bankruptcy makes it more difficult. McGrath represents a 46-year-old construction worker who is part of the suit, now living with chronic pain and headaches as a result of the meningitis he contracted after administering one of the tainted shots. “They have to be held accountable, and it’s not fair they’re going into bankruptcy to try to hide behind it. So many people have been affected,” he said.
He says his life is now a series of doctor’s appointments to deal with the disease, and his medical bills are in the tens of thousands of dollars. Without insurance he says he is financially strapped. “I think they’re crooks, they owe a lot of people an apology. They could at least take care of these medical bills for us for sure.”