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Judge will decide if University Hospitals fertility malfunction cases are merged into single lawsuit

Posted at 5:00 PM, Mar 26, 2018
and last updated 2019-03-28 15:59:44-04

A conference hearing was held Monday afternoon in an effort to determine if individually filed lawsuits against University Hospitals will be combined into a class action suit in response to a fertility clinic malfunction that damaged or destroyed around 2,000 eggs and embryos earlier this month. 

RELATED: "It's beyond devastating." UH fertility patient reacts to clinic failure

According to University Hospitals, an "unexpected temperature fluctuation" damaged the thousands of eggs and embryos that around 700 patients had stored in the clinic.

RELATED: New lawsuit alleges previous failure at University Hospitals Fertility Center

So far there have been 17 lawsuits filed against University Hospitals. Dozens of attorneys for patients attended the preliminary conference that will determine what happens next for the families who were affected by the malfunction.

RELATED: 2 families whose embryos are no longer viable file lawsuits against UH: 'It's a tremendous loss'

Some of the attorneys for the patients have requested the individual lawsuits be merged into a single lawsuit while others, such as attorney Tom Merriman, argued against merging them.

"These are powerful, powerful stories of tremendous loss, and to put them into some kind of lawsuit that they usually use for broken refrigerators and microwaves doesn't make sense," Merriman said.

Judge Stuart Friedman is expected to make a decision in the coming weeks.

RELATED: Couple's last chance to have biological child vanishes after refrigerator malfunction at UH

Friedman is scheduled to retires on Jan. 1, 2019. He has asked to stay on the case as a visiting judge, should the court proceeds extend past his retirement date.

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