Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Area News

June 26, 2013

TN clinics served with subpoena in meningitis outbreak

CROSSVILLE — Specialty Surgery Center of Crossville has been served a subpoena for records related to tainted medication from a drug compounding firm blamed for a nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak.

Also served with subpoenas were St. Thomas Outpatient Neurological Center and PCA Pain Clinic, the Tennessee clinics that received medications from the New England Compounding Center.

The subpoena  requires each clinic to turn over documents in its possession that could shed light on allegations that its patients received injections of tainted medication that led to serious illness. The subpoenas seek information about contaminated methylprednisolone acetate (“MPA”) and also seek information about other potentially contaminated medications, including cardioplegic solution (used during heart surgeries) and ophthalmic (eye) solution believed to have been provided to patients in Tennessee.

The subpoena originated in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, which is overseeing the consolidation of most cases in federal and state court alleging personal injury or wrongful death as a result of the contaminated injections. The subpoena was issued by attorneys working in conjunction with a seven-member plaintiffs’ steering committee appointed by the court to initiate, coordinate and conduct all pretrial discovery of plaintiffs in all actions pending in that court. The purpose of the subpoena is to investigate facts material to ongoing proceedings in the consolidated cases in Massachusetts, and does not necessarily indicate wrongdoing on the part of the clinic. 

The Tennessee clinics were three of many clinics nationwide identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as having purchased and administered vials of contaminated MPA that were produced by New England Compounding Pharmacy, Inc., (“NECP”) of Framingham, MA. The CDC has reported 152 cases, including 79 cases of fungal meningitis infection and 15 deaths, linked to the tainted compound in the state of Tennessee alone.

The subpoenas require these clinics to produce for examination or copying, documents and communications between the clinic and NECP, including information reflecting purchasing decisions, items purchased, dates, quantities, pricing, storage of the medication and more.

According to J. Gerard Stranch IV, an attorney with Branstetter, Stranch & Jennings, PLLC, this subpoena signals the next step of an ongoing investigation of the role clinics played in the distribution of contaminated medication.

“We believe the information we receive from St. Thomas Outpatient Neurological Center (and its related affiliates), PCA Pain Clinic, and Specialty Surgery Center will help us understand how the outbreak of fungal meningitis infections occurred,” Mr. Stranch said.

The outbreak of fungal meningitis infections is the worst such outbreak in U.S. history. The CDC has recorded more than 700 infections nationwide, and has not ruled out the possibility that this number will continue to grow.

As a result of the large number of actual and anticipated civil lawsuits arising from the outbreak, NECP filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the United State Bankruptcy Code, in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Massachusetts Dec. 21, 2012. On Feb. 12, 2013, the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ordered the consolidation of all federal cases in the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts.

On April 9, 2013, the Hon. F. Dennis Saylor IV, presiding United States District Court Judge, appointed the plaintiffs’ steering committee, of which Thomas M. Sobol, an attorney with the firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, is lead counsel. Stranch and Mark Chalos of Lieff Cabraser Heimann and Bernstein, LLP are Tennessee-based members of the committee. Stranch is the Tennessee chair and Chalos acts as Federal/State liaison counsel. The plaintiffs’ steering committee anticipates that similar subpoenas will be served in other states affected by the outbreak in the coming days. 

Text Only
Area News
  • Motion to toss evidence in burglary denied

    A defense motion to have evidence seized by deputies searching for a man who fled warrant service thrown out failed when deputies testified they had oral permission from the defendant's son to search the residence the father and son share.

    April 18, 2014

  • donate life.jpg Organ donation gives man new lease on life

    Travis Hodges has a new lease on life, thanks to a selfless gift a young father made the year before.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fireworks, sign change get council OK

    While the April Crossville City Council meeting was generally a calm one, there were some fireworks on the agenda.

    April 18, 2014

  • quackers at the library.jpg Spring jamboree

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Suspect charged in Sportsman Club break-in

    A Crossville man has been arrested and charged in connection with the burglary of a shooting club's building in the county that occurred last week, according to arrest reports.

    April 17, 2014

  • Panel discusses auditing hotel/motel tax collections

    Commissioners on the budget committee discussed the possibility of auditing hotels and motels in the county regarding the collection of hotel/motel tax collection figures being down.

    April 17, 2014

  • Repent burglar must serve time

    Some defendants cry, because they get caught, and others are tearful with remorse. No one in the courtroom doubted Robert Killeen's sincerity when he apologized to his victim, his loved ones and supporters for committing crimes against an elderly widow, stealing the money her late husband left her.

    April 17, 2014

  • Panel OKs budget amendments

    The Cumberland County Budget Committee approved a $134,506 budget amendment for the Cumberland County Solid Waste Department in order to accept a grant from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation for enhanced waste oil collection.

    April 16, 2014

  • Council votes to seek RFQs for wastewater operation

    The city of Crossville has had a 20-year relationship with Veolia Water, the contractor that currently operates the wastewater treatment plant for the city, and while council members say they don't have a problem with the company's service, they have voted to send out requests for qualifications (RFQ) to determine if they have the best company operating the facility.

    April 16, 2014

  • Police: Couple sets up house in Tansi pool

    A Lake Tansi couple who suddenly found themselves without shelter set up a temporary home in an indoor pool area at the resort/retirement community, according to police arrest reports.

    April 16, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice