Thursday, April 15, 2010 | 5:10 p.m.
A jury has been seated in the first case linked to the outbreak of hepatitis C in Southern Nevada to go to trial.
Thousands of lawsuits were filed in the wake of the largest hepatitis C scare in U.S. history, with about 300 people claiming to have contracted the disease at one of the clinics linked to the outbreak.
One person who filed suit was Henry Chanin, who says he contracted hepatitis C from a contaminated vial of the anesthetic propofol during a routine procedure at the Desert Shadow Endoscopy Center, 4725 Burnham Ave.
Chanin and his wife, Lorraine, are suing drugmaker Teva Parenteral Medicines, Inc., and Baxter Healthcare Corporation, which manufactured and distributed the propofol used at the clinic.
Jury selection began Monday and a panel of eight jurors and four alternates was sworn in Thursday afternoon, a day earlier than expected. Opening arguments are scheduled for Monday, with testimony expected to begin Tuesday.
About 50,000 people were notified they needed to undergo testing for hepatitis C, hepatitis B and HIV after an investigation in 2008 by the Southern Nevada Health District.
Chanin’s attorneys claim the jumbo size of the bottles encouraged reuse and say warning labels on the vials were inadequate. The bottles contained five times the amount of the drug needed for routine procedures, the lawsuit says.
Portions of the Chanins’ lawsuit have been settled, including with the medical professionals who performed the procedure.
The trial is expected to last at least three weeks in the courtroom of District Court Judge Jessie Walsh, who is presiding over the case.
At least 500 potential jurors were screened by way of a jury questionnaire before reporting for jury duty; responses to the questionnaire narrowed the pool by about half.