ReNu with MoistureLoc Decision Will be Appealed

An attorney representing people who claimed to have been injured by Bausch & Lomb’s recalled <"">ReNu with MoistureLoc Contact Lens Solution says there will be an appeal of a New York state court judge’s recent decision on some lawsuits.

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 confirmed 180 cases of Fusarium keratitis in the U.S.

No one is exactly sure why ReNu with MoistureLoc turned out to be defective. As we reported last November, a study conducted by researchers at Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine in Dayton, Ohio found that ReNu with MoistureLoc loses much of its ability to fight fungal contamination when exposed to high temperatures for a long period of time. The solution also contained a microbial agent not found in other contact lens solution, as well as some novel moisturizing agents. Some researchers have theorized that the disinfectant absorbed into lenses at unusually high rates and the moisturizing agents created a biofilm (a cluster of microbes held together by a glue-like matrix) that shielded and even fostered growth of the fungus to infectious levels.

The ReNu recall spawned hundreds of product liability lawsuits against Bausch & Lomb. Some of these were filed by people who developed eye infections other than Fusarium keratitis while they were using ReNu. Those lawsuits assert that if the disinfectant in ReNu couldn’t kill Fusarium, it couldn’t kill other organisms.

Last month, a “Frye hearing” was held before New York state court judge Shirely Kornreich to determine whether plaintiffs’ proof of general causation linking MoistureLoc to non-Fusarium conditions rose to the level of admissible evidence. In a 28-page decision, Judge Kornreich found against the plaintiffs.

But Andres Alonso, a partner with Parker Waichman Alonso LLP, said today that his firm is appealing that decision. He characterized the non-Fusarium litigation as “ongoing”.

“ReNu cases are scheduled for trial in February,” Mr. Alonso said. “We plan on being there, and look forward to trying ReNu with MoistureLoc lawsuits on behalf of all of our clients.”

It would appear that the ReNU with MoistureLoc litigation is far from over.

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