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University Hospitals facing 117 lawsuits after fertility clinic malfunction

Posted at 6:07 PM, Apr 02, 2018
and last updated 2019-03-28 15:56:25-04

New lawsuits have been announced almost daily since University Hospitals first admitted to its fertility clinic failure. The hospital is now facing a mounting stack of class action and individual lawsuits from heartbroken families, many who lost their last chance at having a biological child. 

About 900 patients have now received the devastating news that their eggs and embryos were affected in a storage tank malfunction.

RELATED Broken Trust: News 5's special report on the UH fertility clinic catastrophe

Tom Merriman, of Landskroner Greico Merriman, said his firm is now representing more than 100 patients and will not consolidate them into a class action. 

"This is not a case that should be resolved through some antiseptic class action settlement," Merriman said. "Every one of the women who had their eggs retrieved, every couple who had eggs that were stored, they need to bring their cases to court, they need to be heard. A jury needs to decide what happens to them and they need to demand punitive damages against the hospital."

Peiffer Rosca and Wolf, another one of a handful of firms involved.

"Plaintiffs viewed their eggs and embryos as their future children," Lydia Floyd of Peiffer Rosca and Wolf said when the firm first announced their class action suit. 

DiCello Levitt & Casey has another class action lawsuit filed on behalf of Amber and Elliott Ash who had two embryos stored with UH. 

"You put so much faith into the physicians and the medical team and to have this taken away and have your hopes and dreams destroyed," Amber Ash said. 

The couple found out early on in the malfunction debacle that their embryos are no longer viable. 

Elliott Ash, who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in 2003, decided to bank his sperm at age 23 before they were destroyed by chemotherapy. The couple has had their embryos stored at UH since 2014, paying about $400 a year for the service. 

"The medical community calls it tissue, I like to think of it as my children. My frozen children," Ash said. 

It still hasn't been decided whether or not one judge will preside over all of the pending cases against UH, which is now up to more than 117, including class action and individual. Judge Stuart Friedman is expected to make that decision soon. 

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