Lawsuits against the manufacturer that made the allegedly contaminated steroids responsible for a deadly meningitis outbreak across the nation are getting incredibly serious. Victims recently put forward a motion to freeze $500 million of the pharmacy’s assets.

But the New England Compounding Center (NECC) is fighting back. On Tuesday, the pharmacy’s lawyers told a federal judge that there is no evidence that the NECC’s owners directly participated in events leading to the fungal meningitis outbreak that has killed 34 people so far, and affected almost 500. They also sought to block the plaintiffs’ motion to freeze assets.

Barry Cadden, the NECC’s chief pharmacist, was subpoenaed for a hearing before the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee earlier this month. But according to his lawyer, he hasn’t compounded any drugs for years. His wife, Lisa Cadden is also a part owner and has not worked as a pharmacist for seven years, according to defense lawyers.

Thomas Sobol, the plaintiffs’ lawyer, is not buying it. If Lisa Cadden is one of the key people answering questions about NECC’s operations, she can’t claim to be a soccer mom, he says. Sobol also claims his motion to freeze assets is reasonable, that it wouldn’t keep the Caddens from buying Thanksgiving dinner, only from, say, selling their house and putting the money in an account in the Cayman Islands.

Defense lawyer Bruce Singal complained at the hearing that his clients were “under siege” by many government organizations. “Almost anybody you can think of, except for NASA, has showed up so far,” he said.

Read more at Thomson Reuters.


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