Lawsuit filed for Michigan residents affected by meningitis ou - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Lawsuit filed for Michigan residents affected by meningitis outbreak

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(10/16/12) - The number of people infected by the fungal meningitis outbreak continues to climb.

There are 231 cases of fungal meningitis in the nation, including 15 deaths - in 15 states.

In Michigan, there are 47 cases, with three deaths.

A fourth person died in Michigan, but she received her shot in Indiana.

Now a Howell woman is taking action. She is the first in the state to file a class action lawsuit against the Massachusetts specialty pharmacy linked to the outbreak.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Brenda Bansale, is for all Michigan residents who were exposed to the tainted steroids.

Bansale was diagnosed with fungal meningitis earlier this month after getting a steroid shot in August. She is still in the hospital.

Her lawyer spoke to ABC12 on the phone Tuesday. He says the lawsuit filed on her behalf calls for tougher regulations on the pharmacy that made the mistake - and aims to compensate those who have been affected.

"The case is designed to bring together all these cases, all these people who have suffered, all these injuries because of the poor control of this facility," said attorney Marc Lipton.

So far, that includes more than 200 people who became sick and more than a dozen others who died after being injected with tainted steroids that were shipped from The New England Compounding Center in Massachusetts.

While this is the first lawsuit in Michigan, Lipton says several others have been filed elsewhere. "Two in Minnesota, one in Tennessee," he said.

Lipton believes more people will seek legal assistance, and he expects all the suits will eventually consolidate into one multi-district case.

He says it is important the pharmacy is held accountable.

"Getting justice for my client, for the other people that where injured by this company's actions, both evens the scales for these people, and also helps all us in the larger community because it tells the next company, 'you better not do this,'" Lipton said.

Lipton encourages those who were exposed to the tainted injections to seek legal representation from a local attorney.

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