CLEVELAND, March 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A federal jury in Cleveland agreed with an Ohio retiree's allegations that he was catastrophically injured by a single dose of GE Healthcare's intravenous body-scan contrast agent, the Ashcraft & Gerel LLP law firm and co-counsel said today.
After a 17-day trial, the eight-member jury in Judge Dan Aaron Polster's court awarded Paul Decker and his wife Karen $5 million. Mr. Decker, of Mount Blanchard, Ohio, alleged that he acquired nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF), a debilitating, progressive disease that has rendered him immobile and dependent on 24-hour care. Mr. Decker, a retired 30-year employee of a tire company, is now cared for by his wife.
The Deckers are represented by Christopher V. Tisi, Michelle Parfitt and Brianne Rideout of Ashcraft & Gerel LLP's Washington, D.C. office; and William Hawal and Peter J. Brodhead of Spangenberg Shibley & Liber LLP, of Cleveland.
The verdict concluded the nation's first trial of an NSF lawsuit. Hundreds of earlier injury claims were settled, according to court records. The gadolinium-based magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agent is marketed under the trade name Omniscan.Christopher V. Tisi said, "We applaud Paul and Karen Decker's courage in helping expose the public-safety risks that GE took. Like the Deckers, we are pleased that the jury demanded GE take responsibility for the injuries their actions caused. We hope a successful resolution of this case will provide the help the Deckers need in caring for Mr. Decker." Michelle Parfitt said, "The trial evidence showed that GE had knowledge of Omniscan's toxicity for decades before Mr. Decker's senseless injury. The company took extraordinary measures to withhold critical safety studies and evidence dating back to the 1980s from the FDA, other regulatory officials, and Mr. Decker's doctors." GE witnesses and experts testified that the company spent millions of dollars in the past five years funding litigation-related studies to find potential hypotheses as to the cause of NSF but spent nothing to research a cure, the Deckers' legal team said.