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$100M meningitis settlement filed in federal court

A settlement was filed in bankruptcy court Tuesday that could provide $100 million as early as next year to victims of a nationwide meningitis outbreak linked to tainted steroid injections, lawyers said.

New England Compounding Center, its owners, related companies and insurers reached the settlement with a steering committee representing patients across the country who received shots of medication found to be contaminated with fungus. The agreement, tentatively reached and announced in December, awaits approval in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts Eastern Division.

Sixty-four people across the country died after receiving the injections, and 751 received fungal infections including meningitis. Three people died in Maryland, and 26 infections were reported in the state.

The settlement covers the claims of about 3,300 people. Many patients were told they received steroid injections from several contaminated lots of medication produced in the Framingham, Mass., compounding pharmacy, but never developed symptoms. Others got sick despite not being diagnosed with meningitis.

The pharmacy filed for bankruptcy in December 2012. The settlement includes contributions of $48 million from its owners Barry Cadden, Lisa Conigliaro Cadden, Carla Conigliaro and Gregory Conigliaro. Pharmacists Mutual Insurance Co. and Maxum Indemnity Co., insurance companies representing the compounding pharmacy and a related company Ameridose, are contributing $25 million.

Work to determine how much money individual claimants could receive will continue over the next several months, according to Pikesville law firm Janet, Jenner & Suggs LLC, which represents more than 100 plaintiffs related to the meningitis outbreak in Maryland.

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