Ham Lake Woman Sues After Contracting Meningitis

Updated: 11/13/2012 12:07 PM KSTP.com By: Mark Albert

A Ham Lake woman has become the fourth Minnesotan to sue the Massachusetts compounding pharmacy at the center of a nationwide recall of contaminated steroid shots that the Centers for Disease Control says has been linked to the deaths of 32 people and the sickening of more than 400 others in a meningitis outbreak.

Holly Peterson's attorneys filed her lawsuit Friday in the U.S. District Court of Minnesota. Peterson follows women in Shakopee, Savage, and Montrose who also contracted meningitis and then sued the New England Compounding Pharmacy.

She had sought the steroid shot at a clinic in Coon Rapids to relieve her chronic back pain, according to her attorney, Karl Cambronne of the Chestnut Cambronne law firm in Minneapolis.

"It's very devastating," Cambronne said Monday in an interview, "because the fact of the matter is, it can be deadly."

In Minnesota, 11 people have been sickened after approximately 1,000 received the fungus-tainted shots, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. Nationwide, more than 17,000 vials of the product were recalled.

"From a legal perspective, the mere fact that they sell a drug in commerce and it's adulterated like this will create liability for them," said Cambronne.

Lawsuits have been filed in at least four states. While some, including Peterson's, seek class-action status, Cambronne says the case will likely be consolidated in one court before the status is decided.

"After the first of the year, these cases will likely go to a single venue. Now, that venue could be Minnesota, it might not be Minnesota," Cambronne said.

"The question we have is whether they have sufficient financial resources to compensate all the victims that are out there."

Click here to read Peterson's lawsuit.