A Nevada state court judge has denied class certification in a lawsuit filed by endoscopy patients who sought damages for emotional distress after being exposed, although not infected, to the blood-borne illness hepatitis C by a health clinic that used contaminated medication. The story has been reported by a variety of news sources, but here is one of the more comprehensive reports from the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The underlying facts of the case, at least as reported, sound fairly egregious, but the class certification decision does not come as too much of a surprise. As with asbestos exposure cases, it sounds like the central disputed issues in the case are the existence of injury and damages, which would almost certainly vary from patient to patient.
The decision by no means marks the end to the litigation. Apparently, the judge has authorized interlocutory appeal of the class certification decision to the state supreme court. If the decision is upheld, the plaintiffs’ attorneys say that they plan ask for consolidation of groups of up to 80 plaintiffs for trial, which may still give them some leverage in negotiating a settlement.