A Baltimore County pain treatment center is resisting involvement in a probe into the deadly national fungal meningitis outbreak linked to tainted steroids last year.
Baltimore Pain Management Center, which received some doses of the recalled medications, filed an objection Tuesday in federal court to a subpoena it received last month. Lawyers are seeking documents from 76 clinics across the country, including seven in Maryland, that received the drugs as they build a case against New England Compounding Pharmacy Inc., the Massachusetts facility that produced them.
The practice, in the Rossville area on Philadelphia Road, argued that it should not be subject to subpoena because it was not aware that any of its patients were involved in the litigation. But a Pikesville attorney coordinating Maryland plaintiffs in the lawsuit said she represents two of Baltimore Pain Management's patients.
The lawsuit seeks to unearth what led to 61 deaths amid nearly 750 cases of fungal meningitis and other infections across 20 states. Preliminary investigations showed fungus growing inside vials of the steroid methylprednisolone acetate injected into patients, most of whom were suffering from back pain.
Given the large number of patients spread across the country, a steering committee of lawyers has organized a lawsuit being heard in Massachusetts federal court. Elisha Hawk, an attorney with the Pikesville firm Janet, Jenner & Suggs who is leading the committee's efforts in Maryland, filed subpoenas here June 21.
Baltimore Pain Management responded by asking the court to exempt it from the subpoena, saying it did not hold any documents that would be relevant to any of the claims in court and that gathering any would be overly burdensome. The practice's attorney, Michelle Marzullo of Marks, O'Neill, O'Brien, Doherty & Kelly in Towson, declined to comment beyond what was included in the filing. Dr. Michael Gardyn, one of the practice's providers, did not respond to a request for comment.
Hawk said she plans to ask the court to uphold the subpoena, which was intended to gather information from sources that are not already parties in the lawsuit. Two of the more than three dozen clients of Janet, Jenner & Suggs said they received injections from Baltimore Pain Management in July and August of last year, she said.
Baltimore Pain Management is among a group of more than a dozen clinics, practices and doctors across the country that have objected to the subpoenas in court. None of the other Maryland clinics have filed objections.
They include Berlin Interventional Pain Management, Box Hill Surgery Center in Abingdon, Greenspring Surgery Center in Baltimore County, Harford County Ambulatory Surgery Center in Edgewood, Pain Medicine Specialists in Towson and SurgCenter of Bel Air.
Another chain of practices with a similar name, Baltimore Pain Relief Center in White Marsh, Pikesville and Dundalk, is not involved in the probe and did not receive any shipments of the tainted steroids.
A court hearing on the subpoena objections is scheduled for July 18 in Boston. Hawk said she expects responses to the subpoenas from other clinics over the coming month.
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