Hepatitis C outbreak leads to business litigation

When you think about the parties to a personal injury lawsuit, you typically may think of a person suing a driver of a vehicle, a doctor or a hospital or some other person or entity that caused their injuries. We may not think of a business suing another business.

But that is what happened in Minot, where a nursing home has joined with patients to sue a hospital that they blame for the largest outbreak of hepatitis C that has occurred in 13 years in the U.S.

The former residents of the nursing home are suing the hospital for contracting the disease, which they allege was caused by improper handling of needles used for blood tests by the hospital. The victims allege someone in the hospital's outpatient laboratory reused needles, spreading the disease. Three deaths are associated with the outbreak.

The nursing home had been sued by the victims, but they ended that lawsuit and are now suing with the nursing home, alleging in their complaint that the hospital is responsible for the harm.

The nursing home is suing, alleging the outbreak damaged the facilities ability to do business and caused the substantial loss suffered by the owners, who sold it in 2015 for $8 million. In the years before the 2013 outbreak, it had been valued at $23 million.

While most business lawsuits may involve more mundane matters, when events transpire that lead to the collapse of a business or mortally wounds it, litigation is likely to follow as investors and owners attempt to recoup their losses from a party they claim as responsible for those losses.

This type of commercial or business litigation can be complex and involved and may lead to appeals. It is important to have sophisticate legal counsel to assist with these cases to ensure that your costs don't exceed the potential recovery.

Source: insurancejournal.com, "North Dakota Hospital Sued over Hepatitis C Outbreak," Blake Nicholson, March 9, 2016

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