Chicago Attorneys to File Class Action Lawsuit Against Bxter Tuesday - Hina (Croatian News Agency) - November 12, 2001

Chicago Attorneys to File Class Action Lawsuit Against Baxter Tuesday Hina (Croatian News Agency)
November 12, 2001

ZAGREV/CHICAGO, Nov. 12 (Hina) - A Chicago law firm, Kenneth B Moll & Associates, will file in Illinois on Tuesday a class action lawsuit against a US company Baxter International Inc. whose kidney dialysis filters are responsible for 53 deaths worldwide, of which 23 were in Croatia, attorney Kenneth Moll told Hina Monday night over the phone.

'Tomorrow we will file a class action suit against Baxter International, Inc.,' said Kenneth Moll. The suit will be filed in Cook County, Illinois, he said.

The suit will be the first filed against the company for the kidney dialysis filters.

The suit will be filed 'on behalf of all the patients worldwide' who have died or were injured using Baxter's kidney dialysis filters, including Croatia, Spain and Columbia, he said.

Baxter's kidney dialysis filters are believed to be responsible for the deaths of 53 kidney patients worldwide, in Spain (11), Croatia (23), Columbia, the USA and Taiwan. The investigation is yet to be completed.

Moll said he expected 'very high' compensations and assessed they would amount 'from two to 15 million US dollars per death.' The costs of the litigation and the services of the firm Kenneth B. Moll & Associates will be covered by a 'percentage of the recovery,' which is up to the judge. They will be covered by the 'defendants and not out of individual actions,' he said.

The lawsuit will seek status against Baxter International Inc. on behalf of all those who have died or were injured using Baxter's kidney dialysis filters and will seek compensation for them, he said.

The American legal system allows only one lawsuit to be filed by one or more plaintiffs, representatives of a class, on behalf of themselves and all other persons wronged in the same way, Moll explained.

In this particular case, the firm will 'name only one plaintiff' who will represent a class, he said adding he 'had no doubt the class would be certified.'

If this one case is settled, this will provide for compensation for all other class members, he said.

Each class member can decide whether he wants to be a class member or not. If a class member does not want to be a class member, he or she can 'opt out' of the class and file his or her own individual suit, explained Moll.

Individual suits can be filed 'with our firm as their representative or some other law firm,' he added. If, for example, Baxter offers to settle each case with five million US dollars, each class member will have the right to decide whether he accepts this amount of money or whether he wants more, he said.

'Every class member should notify us, contact us in writing to represent him or her,' he said.

Moll said that they had received a couple if inquiries from Croatia and that some Croatian attorneys would assist in the case.

The number of persons wronged by Baxter could be 'significantly higher' than 53 because all cases have not been recorded yet, he said. Moll stressed that 'Baxter's liability is not a question'.

After the filing of the suit, Baxter will have 30 days to respond and then a judge will accept the motion for class certification. The suit will then proceed as a class action, he said.

Moll said he expected the suit to settle, i.e., to be resolved through a deal out of court, and that he 'hoped' this would happen 'within a year.'

He stressed that 'each case would be settled individually' and that 'compensation would be evaluated in each case independently.'

Kenneth B. Moll & Associates are a very well-known American law firm which has been involved in several high-profile lawsuits, including cases on breast implants, the 'fen-phen' diet pill and suits against the tobacco industry.