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NTM Class Action

By: Anapol Weiss

A class action lawsuit (“the Lawsuit”) was filed on behalf of all individuals who underwent open heart surgery at WellSpan York Hospital between October 1, 2011 and July 24, 2015 or Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center between November 5, 2011 and November 5, 2015 who have not been diagnosed with and do not have current symptoms of non-tuberculous mycobacterium (NTM) infection. This Notice refers to this group as the “Class”.

The Lawsuit is titled Baker, et al. v. Sorin Group USA, Inc., No. 1:16-cv-00260. The Lawsuit is pending in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

The Parties engaged in nearly three years of litigation, including the exchange and review of numerous documents, the taking of depositions (sworn testimony from witnesses) and the exchange of expert reports.

On October 23, 2017, the Court granted Class Certification, which meant the Lawsuit could proceed on a class-wide basis to determine whether Defendant is liable to the Class. On November 6, 2017, Defendant filed a Petition for Permission to Appeal Class Certification to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Baker, et al. v. Sorin Group USA, Inc., No. 17-0859 (3d Cir.). On December 13, 2018, the Third Circuit granted Defendant’s Petition to Appeal.

After extensive settlement negotiations, the Parties to the Lawsuit have reached a proposed Class Action Settlement, and Defendant has dismissed its appeal of Class Certification subject to the Court’s final approval of the Class Action Settlement.

On October 16, 2019, the Court granted preliminary approval of the proposed Class Action Settlement, scheduled a final hearing and authorized the distribution of this Notice to all Class Members.

The Class Action Settlement will ensure that WellSpan York Hospital and Penn State S. Hershey Medical Center continue their respective existing NTM screening protocols and make NTM screening available to you for at least five (5) years following your open-heart surgery.

A Final Approval Hearing will be held on January 28, 2020 at 10 a.m. in court room number 2 before the Honorable John E. Jones, III at the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania located at 228 Walnut St., Harrisburg, PA 17101. During the Final Approval Hearing, Judge Jones will determine:

Whether the proposed Class Action Settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate.

Whether any request by Class Counsel for attorneys’ fees should be approved by the Court.

If you believe any terms of Class Action Settlement are unfair and wish to object, you must mail a letter to the Court explaining all of your objections so that it is received no later than January 8, 2020. The letter should include the name of the case (Baker v. Sorin Group USA, Inc.), the case number (1:16-cv-00260-JEJ), your name, address, telephone number and signature. Letters must be mailed to:

Hon. John E. Jones, III.
United States District Court—Middle District of Pennsylvania
228 Walnut St.
Harrisburg, PA 17101

If you wish to speak in Court about the fairness of the proposed Class Action Settlement or any request for attorneys’ fees, you must send a written notice of intention to appear to the Court so that it is received no later than January 17, 2020. The hearing on January 28, 2020 will be your only opportunity to object to the terms of the Class Action Settlement. Judge Jones will consider all timely objections submitted by Class Members, even if you do not attend the in-person fairness hearing.

A full copy of the court authorized notice of class certification, preliminary approval of proposed class action settlement and final approval hearing is attached here.