Bausch & Lomb Loses ReNu with MoistureLoc Insurance Case

Bausch & Lomb has lost another round in the legal wrangling involving its recalled <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/renu_contact_solution">ReNu with MoistureLoc Contact Lens Solution. Last week, a federal judge ruled in favor of one of Bausch & Lomb’s insurers, Lexington Co., making it unlikely that the insurer will have to foot the bill for claims stemming from the many personal injury lawsuits filed by people who suffered serious eye infections as a result of using tainted ReNu with MoistureLoc solution.

Bausch & Lomb pulled ReNu with MoistureLoc from Asian markets in February 2006, and did the same in the U.S. in April of that year, after it was linked to an outbreak of Fusarium keratitis, a potentially blinding eye infection. The company would ultimately issue a worldwide recall of ReNu with MoistureLoc on May 15, 2006.

A Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report on the outbreak found that those infected with Fusarium keratitis were 20 time more likely to have used the ReNu with MoistureLoc solution. The CDC report determined that bad hygiene habits among users were not to blame for the infections, but that the contact lens solution appeared to have poor disinfectant qualities. The CDC ultimately confirmed 180 cases of Fusarium keratitis in the U.S. According to the Associated Press, at least 60 more Americans needed vision-saving corneal transplants.

The ReNu debacle spawned nearly 2,000 personal injury lawsuits. According to a report in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, Bausch & Lomb had filed suit against Lexington, a subsidiary of American Insurance Group (AIG), in an effort to force it to pay those claims. Bausch & Lomb had argued that Lexington policy’s coverage limits should apply to ReNu with MoistureLoc claims collectively, but Lexington had asserted that the insurance policy called for each claim to be considered on its own.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Michael Telesca found in favor of Lexington, ruling that each alleged injury must be treated as a separate claim. Because of this ruling, Lexington will only have to pay claims that reach a certain liability threshold.

In 2007, Bausch & Lomb had filed similar lawsuits against two other of its insurers, but dropped those cases. According to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, those insurers, ACE American Insurance Co. and Steadfast Insurance Co., have been providing coverage.

Bausch & Lomb has said that it has settled most claims regarding ReNu and Fusarium keratitis. According to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, those settlements have costs the company more than $200 million.

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