Panel centralizes meningitis litigation in Mass.

A judicial panel ruled Tuesday that all suits filed against a pharmacy linked to a multistate outbreak of fungal meningitis will be heard in federal court in Massachusetts. The US Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has assigned Judge F. Dennis Saylor in Boston the more than 120 suits filed against the New England Compounding Center. The fungal meningitis outbreak has been blamed on a steroid produced by the center. The outbreak has sickened more than 650 and killed 46. Some plaintiffs had requested that the cases be centralized in Minnesota. But the panel said that was best done in Massachusetts, because that is where the alleged contamination occurred and that is where the federal and state investigations into the Framingham-based center are focused.