Heparin caused man to lose toes, suit says
CHARLESTON – Charleston Area Medical Center and manufacturers of blood thinner Heparin caused a West Virginia man to lose some toes, a lawsuit alleges. James Bradley filed the suit in Kanawha County circuit court in November, but Heparin makers seek to transfer it to multi district litigation in federal court in Cleveland. Heparin makers removed the case to federal court in Charleston on Dec. 2, and asked District Judge John Copenhaver to impose a stay pending transfer to Cleveland. "A stay will prevent needless waste of time and resources of the parties and the court," wrote Russell Jessee of Steptoe and Johnson in Charleston. "If plaintiffs do not oppose transfer, the case will be before the MDL court within a matter of weeks," he wrote. Jessee represents Baxter Healthcare, Baxter International, Scientific Protein Laboratories, Changzhou SPL, and American Capital. Shannon Bland and Page Hamrick, of Bland and Bland in Charleston, represent Bradley. They claim Heparin harmed him during heart surgery. While the drug makers wait to litigate in Cleveland, Charleston Area Medical Center would rather not litigate at all. On the day the drug makers removed the case, the hospital asked Copenhaver to dismiss Bradley's claims against it. For the hospital, Rita Biser of South Charleston wrote that Bradley failed to provide 60 days notice of his claim as state medical malpractice law requires. According to the drug makers, Bradley sued the hospital only to prevent removal to federal court. Jessee wrote that Bradley's medical negligence claims were calculated to defeat jurisdictional diversity that would require removal. "The bulk of plaintiff's complaint is directed at the pharmaceutical defendants, and only vague medical malpractice claims are inserted at the end," Jessee wrote. Claims against the hospital and the drug makers are incompatible, he wrote. Bradley alleges that drug makers deceived Bradley and his medical providers about the safety of Heparin, he wrote. The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multi District Litigation will decide whether to transfer the case to District Judge James Carr in Cleveland. The panel put Carr in charge of Heparin litigation 18 months ago. About 100 lawyers represent about 300 plaintiffs in Carr's court. On Dec. 14, Carr ordered plaintiff lawyers to file a single complaint for each client. "The clerk is hereby ordered to separate any previously filed multiple plaintiff complaints," he wrote. On Dec. 15, he ruled that defendants can move to dismiss claims for want of prosecution if plaintiffs have not submitted fact sheets by Dec. 30. He instructed both sides to exchange lists of cases worthy of trial, and he set a Feb. 24 status conference to resolve any disagreements over the lists.