University Hospitals facing new litigation in embryo case
CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - It’s approaching the second anniversary of the freezer failure at the University Hospitals Fertility Clinic in Beachwood and a Cleveland law firm held a press conference to update affected families on the case as well as discuss new litigation against University Hospitals.
The law firm Peiffer Wolf Carr & Kane held a news conference at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday to:
· Provide an update, and inform possible litigants the deadline for filing a lawsuit and collecting damages is quickly approaching.
· Reveal new litigation it will file this week. The law firm told reporters they had filed two new lawsuits on behalf of families in Geauga County.
· Discuss options for an estimated 100 to 200 victims who have not joined any lawsuits. “We estimate as many as 200 people who could file have not.” Deadline for filing is March 3.
“This should never, ever happen again,” lawyers for the defendants told 19 News.
The freezer failure occurred when someone turned off an alarm at the clinic located at UH Ahuja Medical Center that would have alerted staff that temperatures had heated to dangerously high levels during maintenance in the tanks used to store eggs and embryos.
The freezers held the eggs and embryos for women who wanted to delay pregnancy or had concerns about the ability to conceive naturally in the future, for some woman -- sometimes because of illness -- their only chance to conceive a baby.
More than 150 families have already settled lawsuits as of last fall, with no details of the settlements made public.
Wendy and Rick Penniman of Broadview Heights had contended the embryos represented human persons and should be treated as patients but the they lost that case in an appeals court and settled their case in July.
University Hospitals released the below statement Wednesday:
“As there are no new developments other than two new complaints, we do not have any further comment at this time.”
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