Bausch & Lomb could pay more than $1 billion in 'MoistureLoc' settlements

Legal News Line Feb. 13, 2008, 10:11am

CHICAGO - A products liability suit filed against Bausch & Lomb in the Circuit Court of Cook County was removed to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois by the defendants on Jan. 14. The suit was originally filed on Dec. 7, 2007, and involves allegations of fungal infections stemming from plaintiffs' use of the company's Renu MoistureLoc contact lens solution. The plaintiffs, Josephine Zapalik and Scott Zapalik, each allege that they developed fusarium keratitis as a result of their use of the ReNu solution in December 2005 and January 2006. The six-count complaint alleges negligence, breach of implied warranty, and strict liability against Bausch & Lomb. The suit seeks at least $30,000 in damages on each count. Bausch & Lomb pulled the ReNu MoistureLoc product from shelves after an outbreak of corneal infections prompted the FDA to issue a press release in April 2006 alerting health professionals and contact lens wearers of "rare but serious fungal infections in the eye" caused by fusarium keratitis. The Centers for Disease Control investigated 30 cases of the infection and found that in 26 cases, the patients had used the ReNu MoistureLoc product. Over 400 consumer suits have been filed nationwide against Bausch & Lomb stemming from the ReNu recall, most of which have been consolidated in multidistrict actions. Bausch & Lomb, in its removal notice, requested that the Zapalik case be transferred to a pending multidistrict litigation action in the U.S. District Court in South Carolina. That case (MDL-1785 In Re Bausch & Lomb Inc. Contact Lens Solution Products Liability Litigation) began in August 2006 and is still in the midst of pretrial motions. The Zapaliks are represented by Scott L. Spiegel from the Law Office of Daniel E. Goodman in Park Ridge, Ill. The firm specializes in tort cases and has secured millions in settlements related to construction negligence, medical malpractice, motor vehicle accidents, slip and falls, dog bites, and the like. Analysts predict Bausch & Lomb may end up paying over $1 billion in settlements related to the ReNu MoistureLoc product before all is said and done.

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