The lawsuit filed by the State of Louisiana against dialysis giant Fresenius alleging cardiac risks associated with the company’s dialysis solutions has been remanded to state court from federal court. The case is now before Judge Janice Clark of the Nineteenth Judicial District in the Parish of East Baton Rouge, and the State is represented by Beasley Allen lawyers, working with Attorney General James D. “Buddy” Caldwell.
The State of Louisiana, through the attorney general’s office, initiated its case against the Defendants in the Parish of East Baton Rouge on June 26, 2014. Named as Defendants were several Fresenius corporate entities, such as Fresenius Medical Care Holdings, Inc. and Fresenius, USA, Inc., as well as 99 Fresenius clinics operating within the State.
The State’s lawsuit, in addition to the lawsuits filed by thousands of other Plaintiffs in the Fresenius multidistrict litigation (MDL), arises from allegations that the company’s dialysis solutions, GranuFlo and NaturaLyte, caused elevated levels of bicarbonate to build up in patients’ blood, leading to serious risks that include sudden cardiopulmonary arrest, while at the same time making misrepresentations regarding these life threatening complications caused by their dialysis solutions.
Louisiana’s lawsuit seeks to recover payments made through the State’s Medicaid program for GranuFlo and NaturaLyte. The gravamen of the State’s lawsuit is that the Defendants used false, deceptive, fraudulent, and misleading practices in the promotion, marketing, sale, administering, and reimbursement of their dialysate products and services within the State of Louisiana. The State alleges that despite the Defendants’ knowledge since 2004 that their products were unreasonably dangerous, the Defendants continued to submit or caused to be submitted claims for reimbursement from the State of Louisiana in order to be paid for goods and services that they knew or should have known were of substandard quality.
After Louisiana’s case was filed in state court, it was eventually transferred to the Fresenius MDL in Boston, Mass., where thousands of private claims of personal injury and product liability are currently pending. The State of Louisiana filed its Motion to Remand and successfully argued that because the lawsuit was brought only on behalf of the State, and not private individuals, the Massachusetts court has no jurisdiction over the State’s case. Additionally, the State’s Petition makes no allegations under federal law. On Jan. 20, 2015, the State’s case was remanded back to the Nineteenth Judicial District Court where it was originally filed last June.
This is a great ruling for the State of Louisiana. The lawyers for the State can now move the litigation forward in an effort to recover the loss incurred by the State as a result of the Defendants’ conduct. The attorney general and his staff are working hard to protect the people of Louisiana.
Beasley Allen lawyers representing the State of Louisiana include Dee Miles, who heads our Consumer Fraud Section, along with Lance Gould, Ali Hawthorne, and Roman Shaul. All are lawyers in the section. For more information about this case, contact Ali Hawthorne at 800-898-2034 or by email at Alison.Hawthorne@beasleyallen.com.
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