Endoscopy Center Lawsuits Take Step Closer to Trial Date - 8 News NOW

Adrienne Augustus, Reporter

Endoscopy Center Lawsuits Take Step Closer to Trial Date

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Civil cases against the owners of the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada are facing roadblocks as attorneys on both sides battle for medical records and access to witnesses.

It was the second time all of the attorneys representing some of the 40,000 people exposed to hepatitis came face to face with all of the lawyers defending the doctors who owned the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada.

First order of business -- getting the medical records back from Metro and settling the issue of who would pay to store the thousands of boxes of documents.

Robert Eglet, attorney for plaintiffs said, "If Metro hadn't seized these records and the county didn't have control of those records, the defendants would have control of these records. They would be storing them, they would be organizing them."

"And I don't know if we'll ever get them back in a condition where we could guarantee under oath to anybody that the records we're copying are what we used to have in our office. They've been out of our control too long," said defense attorney Dan Curriden.

They agreed to meet with Metro next week to work out a solution.

The other major problem -- the defense wanting to interview 30 random people included in the class action law suit. Attorneys for the owners of the Endoscopy Center asked for hundreds of people to fill out lengthy questionnaires.

The special hearing master agreed to give them 150 people -- with a paired down survey.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs say it's just an attempt to stop a class action lawsuit for the 40,000 who were infected and a strategy to push back a tentative trial date for the people who are sick.

"If we just go hearing after hearing after hearing, we won't have a trial in June of 2009. And a lot of these people deserve trials before June 2009. People have died already, people are dying already, people are seriously ill. A lot of them are over 70," said Will Kemp, attorney for plaintiffs.

At least 850 people have already tested positive for hepatitis. But the CDC has only recognized seven as having contracted the illness from the Endoscopy Center. The attorneys representing those people hope to go to court in June 2009.

Email your comments to Reporter Adrienne Augustus.
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