Ross Feller Casey wins major settlement in Geisinger hospital bacterial outbreak cases


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Ross Feller Casey has won a major settlement – described as "extraordinary" by The New York Times – in the high-profiled 2019 pseudomonas bacterial outbreak at Geisinger Medical Center in Pennsylvania.

Attorney Matt Casey announced the settlement on July 15, 2019. In a prepared statement, Casey, a founding partner of Ross Feller Casey, said, "After eight months of litigation, I am pleased to announce today that each of my clients has reached a settlement with Geisinger in connection with the pseudomonas infections that occurred in the fall of 2019. Two of the cases involve the deaths of premature babies as a result of pseudomonas infections, and a third case involves a serious brain injury to a then-premature baby as a result of a pseudomonas infection."

"In addition to monetary compensation, this litigation and settlement have resulted in express apologies from Geisinger to my clients and contributed to Geisinger taking steps to prevent anything like this from happening again," Casey added. "Geisinger has changed the process by which it prepares donor breast milk, and it has accepted full responsibility for what happened to my clients' children. I recognize Geisinger's willingness to cooperate in achieving a resolution of these cases and its efforts to be transparent during the litigation."

Between early July and late September of 2019, eight babies treated at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pa. fell seriously ill with pseudomonas bacterial infections. State health officials later found that Geisinger routinely failed to sanitize the equipment used to prepare breast milk, which led to the contamination.

In a written statement, Dr. Jaewon Ryu, the hospital system's president and CEO, said Geisinger "recognizes Mr. Casey's advocacy on behalf of these families and we apologize to each of the families involved."

"The loss of a child is tragic, and this settlement can never replace these young children, however we believe we have taken the steps necessary to prevent future infections and spare other families from this loss," Ryu said.

The New York Times said it was "extraordinary" that a hospital admitted "fault as a condition of a civil settlement."

In an interview, Casey told The Associated Press that he and his clients insisted that Geisinger take full legal acceptance of responsibility as a settlement condition. The hospital agreed. Casey told the media outlet that that is something he has never before seen in a civil settlement in over two decades as a plaintiff's attorney.

"Geisinger has taken this extremely seriously in their dealings with me on behalf of my clients," Casey said. "They've taken unprecedented steps as a consequence of litigation to accept responsibility, not for simply the infections occurring, but for them being the legal cause of these two deaths and those injuries."

In its coverage of the settlement, The Bloomsburg Press-Enterprise reported that "Casey, who has won medical malpractice jury verdicts and settlements in the tens of millions of dollars on behalf of clients, has a history of legal fights with Geisinger.”

The families hired Casey, and he filed suit in October 2019. After Casey brought the lawsuit, state health officials slammed Geisinger for what they called “systemic” failures related to the outbreak.

The settlement received widespread media coverage – see below:

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