Springfield, Mass. – Yesterday, Federal Bankruptcy Judge Henry Boroff ruled in open court confirming the approximately $200 million settlement plan for the victims of the fungal meningitis outbreak caused by contaminated steroid injections from New England Compounding Center (NECC).
The NECC saga began as a tragic yet hopeless case from the perspective of even the most optimistic attorney advocates: in September 2012, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced a nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak spawned by contaminated injections from NECC, a relatively small compounding pharmacy in Framingham, Massachusetts. NECC closed its doors in October 2012 and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on December 21, 2012. At that point, the CDC had confirmed hundreds of cases of fungal meningitis and dozens of deaths linked to this outbreak.
Attorney Anne Andrews, Co-Chair of the NECC Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors, is no stranger to bankruptcies in mass tort cases. In the May 2014 issue of Trial magazine, Ms. Andrews explained:
When a defendant in a mass tort litigation files for bankruptcy, it can be challenging to achieve just compensation for all victims. But it is possible if the plaintiffs’ attorneys work together to create a global settlement architecture that entices defendants to the table.
For nearly thirty years, Ms. Andrews and John C. Thornton, partners of Andrews & Thornton, have worked extensively litigating personal injury product liability cases against major pharmaceutical companies resulting from the sale of dangerous drugs, medical devices and dietary supplements. Andrews & Thornton has unique experience in obtaining compensation for clients despite the wrongdoing company declaring bankruptcy. In fact, Andrews & Thornton has been an active participant in virtually every recent tort claim related litigation within a bankruptcy.
The NECC settlement has nearly doubled since Judge Boroff approved the initial settlement Plan in July 2014. All classes of creditors overwhelmingly supported the Plan, with over 99 percent of victim creditors voting in its favor. According to Ms. Andrews:
Now that the Plan has been confirmed, distribution of the global settlement fund to victims will soon begin. It has been a pleasure to work with an incredible team of colleagues to achieve this extraordinary relief that seemed impossible at the outset. This Plan Confirmation helps bring a sense of closure to the victims of this tragedy and their loved ones, who have waited so patiently for justice and some form of compensation for all they have endured.