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VOL. 37 | NO. 12 | Friday, March 22, 2013
Tennessee AG to defend tort law in meningitis lawsuit
NASHVILLE (AP) — The Tennessee Attorney General is defending a state law that caps damages in civil cases in a lawsuit filed by the husband of a Brentwood woman who died after getting fungal meningitis from tainted steroid injections.
The lawsuit was filed by Wayne Reed over the death of his wife, Diana, against the owners and operators of Saint Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgical Center, which administered the shots produced by the Massachusetts-based New England Compounding Center.
Diana Reed died on Oct. 3 and was the primary caregiver for her husband, who has Lou Gehrig's disease and uses a wheelchair. The lawsuit accuses those who ran the outpatient clinic of being negligent and reckless for using compounded drugs from NECC.
More than 700 people have gotten sick from the injections and 50 have died across the country stemming from the outbreak that was first discovered in Tennessee last fall.
Wayne Reed's complaint asks for $12 .5 million in compensatory damages, well above the maximum amount that plaintiffs can receive under a Tennessee law that went into effect in 2011 that caps damages from personal injury cases.
Reed's attorneys claim the law that caps damages at $750,000 for non-economic damages and $500,000 for punitive damages is unconstitutional. The lawsuit says that it deprives him of his protected right to trial by jury and usurps the powers of the judicial branch.
Attorney General Robert Cooper filed a motion to intervene in the case to defend the state law and a hearing on the state's request is scheduled for Friday morning in Davidson County Circuit Court.