Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

November 20, 2012

Fungal meningitis suits filed by South Bend law firm

The South Bend law firm of Foley & Small filed five additional lawsuits Monday on behalf of clients who contracted fungal meningitis as a result of being injected with a contaminated epidural steroid produced at and sold by the New England Compounding Center (NECC) in Framingham, Mass.

According to a press release, the complaints were filed with the Elkhart County Superior Court on behalf of Rita Geisler, John Pavlekovich, Mary Lambert , Mary Ginther and Kristi Oblinger.

In the complaint, claims are brought against NECC and against Barry and Lisa Cadden and Gregory Conigliaro. The three individual defendants are the owners and officers of the NECC. Barry and Lisa Cadden are pharmacists and Gregory Conigliaro is identified as the president of NECC and the brother of co-defendant, Lisa Cadden.

The complaint refers to inspections by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health finding a lack of sanitary and sterile conditions at the pharmacy leading to the fungal contamination. The defendants are also alleged to have failed to follow proper procedures for the testing of these steroidal products to ensure their sterility.

In addition, it is alleged that NECC operated in an illegal fashion by preparing and selling the epidural steroidal injections as a mass pharmaceutical producer and seller. NECC, in fact, was licensed in Massachusetts as a compounding pharmacy which is only to sell products to individual patients based upon a specific prescription received for the patient. The complaint further refers to prior complaints against and investigations of NECC undertaken by the FDA and by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health in 2003 and 2004.

In each of the complaints, the plaintiff is seeking an award of compensatory and punitive damages as a result of the conduct of the defendants and the resulting injuries and losses suffered by each of plaintiff.

Two of their clients died from meningitis complications. Jack Durben, 83, Edwardsburg, Mich., died early in the day Saturday, Nov. 10 and Viola Copsy, 87, Constantine, Mich., died early Monday.

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

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