- Associated Press - Friday, April 4, 2014

ELKHART, Ind. (AP) - Seventy people have filed a lawsuit against a northern Indiana medical facility, saying they received contaminated steroid injections that caused them to contract fungal meningitis.

The Elkhart Truth reports the lawsuit filed Wednesday in Elkhart Superior Court seeks unspecified damages against Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center of Northern Indiana in Elkhart, alleging it should have known about conditions at a Massachusetts company linked to an outbreak of fungal meningitis that sickened about 750 people in 20 states.

The New England Compounding Center is the pharmacy at center of the meningitis outbreak, shipped more than 17,600 doses of the pain injection implicated in the case.

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“We believe this lawsuit is without merit and the responsible party at fault is New England Compounding Center,” OSMC spokeswoman Jaimie Wrigley said in an email to the newspaper.

The lawsuit alleges that clinics disregarded prevailing industry guidelines and state pharmacy regulations requiring individual medications to be compounded in response to receiving a prescription from a particular patient, saying they did so for convenience and to save money.

Dawn Elliott, one of the women suing OSMC, told WSBT-TV the company should have done a better job of making sure the drugs were safe.

“At first, I thought of them as just a victim in this, too, but they didn’t do their homework,” Elliot said.

The lawsuit was filed by South Bend attorneys Douglas Smalls and Edmond Foley, who in November 2012 filed lawsuits in the U.S. District Court for Northern Indiana, on behalf of some of the plaintiffs in the new Elkhart Superior suit, naming NECC and its operators as defendants. That lawsuit was transferred to the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday seeks compensation that would “fully and reasonably” victims for the injuries and damages sustained, for the costs of the lawsuit and for all other “just and proper relief.”

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