Medical syringes, needles

In 2012, about 750 people across the country were infected with fungal meningitis when New England Compounding Center shipped tainted steroid shots to pain clinics in 20 states. Sixty-four people died from the outbreak, including 19 who received the shots from a Michigan clinic.

Settlement Reached in Lawsuit Against Michigan Pain Specialists

The settlement in the class action lawsuit against Michigan Pain Specialists, located in Genoa Township, involved 311 patients and their survivors. The $10.5 million settlement was reached on March 28, but it’s not known when –- or if -– the patients will actually receive their individual compensations.

These 311 patients are also included in a $210 million settlement with the New England Compounding Center. Payments in that class action settlement have been held up because the federal government has filed liens to get reimbursed for Medicare costs for patients who were treated after the outbreak.

Representatives from the Michigan pain clinic requested that the 311 patients sign statements that show they agreed to the terms of the settlement and that they pledge to not bring any other actions against Michigan Pain Specialists. For a settlement to be reached, this step was key for the clinic. Many of the victims have worried that the tainted injections could lead to future health complications or could comprise their overall health.

Fungal Meningitis Is Rare, According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

According to the CDC, meningitis is an inflammation of membranes that protect and cover the brain and spinal cord. Fungal meningitis spreads by injecting the fungus into the spinal cord through the blood. For those who suffer from weakened immune systems and the elderly, the disease can be fatal.

Class Action Lawsuits and the Law

Class action lawsuits are certified by the court when there are too many class members for them to all be named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit. In addition, there must be common issues among the plaintiffs. The Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 provides specific details about when and what cases qualify for the designation of a class action lawsuit. An attorney can provide more information about class action lawsuits.