By: Austin Kirk | Published: August 12th, 2013
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) has agreed to consolidate all Brilliant Blue G eye infection lawsuits filed against Franck’s Compounding Lab, centralizing the cases before one judge as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation.
According to a transfer order (PDF) issued on August 7, complaints filed in U.S. District Courts throughout the country involving allegations that eye surgery patients developed fungal infections from Brilliant Blue G will be transferred to U.S. District Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt in the Eastern District of Louisiana.
Currently, there are at least 20 cases filed in five different districts nationwide involving the eye surgery dye, which was recalled in 2012.
Establishing the Brilliant Blue G MDL designed to reduce duplicative discovery, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings from different judges and serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the courts. The process is common in complex litigation, where a large number of complaints have been filed throughout the country involving similar allegations of injury caused by the same medication or medical device.
Brilliant Blue G is a compounded medication that was sold by Frank’s Compounding Lab to opthalmologists, who were told the product was safe to inject into the patient’s eyeball during surgery to help the doctor achieve desired results during the procedure.
A Brilliant Blue G recall was issued on March 19, 2012, after reports of eye infections were tracked back to fungal contamination. About two months later, the FDA issued a safety alert announcing the recall for all sterile human and veterinary prescriptions distributed by the pharmacy after investigators discovered microorganisms and fungal growth in areas of the facility that were supposed to be sterile.
According to a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in May 2012, more than 30 confirmed or probable cases of fungal endophthalmitis were identified among patients who underwent eye surgery that involved products distributed by Franck’s Compounding Lab. Brilliant Blue G was linked to 20 of those cases.
Cases filed throughout the federal court system will be centralized before Judge Engelhardt for consolidated management during pretrial discovery and settlement negotiations. If a resolution is not reached following pretrial proceedings and any test trials held in the MDL, each case may ultimately be remanded back to the U.S. District Court where it was originally filed for a separate trial in the future.