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August 1, 2014

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Jurors to resume hepatitis C deliberations Wednesday

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Jury deliberations in the first civil trial stemming from the outbreak of hepatitis C tied to Las Vegas endoscopy clinics entered their third day Tuesday and will continue Wednesday.

Jurors broke for the day Tuesday afternoon and were scheduled to resume deliberations Wednesday morning in a lawsuit filed by Henry Chanin, who is among thousands who sued after an investigation by the Southern Nevada Health District. He’s suing Teva Parenteral Medicines Inc. and Baxter Healthcare Corp., the two companies that made and distributed, respectively, the anesthetic propofol used at Desert Shadow Endoscopy Center, where Chanin was infected with hepatitis C during a routine procedure in 2006.

Attorneys for Chanin and his wife, Lorraine, want jurors to hold the drug companies liable on a number of product defect claims, saying the jumbo-sized vials of the drug led to reuse among patients, causing contamination and infection. They also say the warnings on the vials themselves and on drug packaging inserts were inadequate.

Robert Eglet, who represents Chanin, in closing arguments Friday asked jurors to award millions of dollars in damages. If the jury finds the drug companies liable and determines that punitive damages are warranted, they will begin a second phase of deliberations.

Attorneys for the drug companies say that although they sympathize with the Chanins, responsibility for the infection doesn’t fall on them. In closing arguments, attorney Mark Tulley refuted claims by Eglet and Will Kemp, who represents Lorraine Chanin, that the drug companies put profits ahead of patient safety.

The vials were produced in different sizes to offer more choices to medical professionals, Tully said, adding that the warnings on the drug and its packaging are clear and consistent.

Chanin is the headmaster at The Meadows School, a nonprofit, private school in the northwest valley that serves students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.

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