CLEVELAND, Ohio - The lawyer for one of the hundreds of families affected by the storage tank failure at University Hospitals Fertility Clinic says the hospital gave no answer in response to a lawsuit.
Tom Merriman represents more than 150 patients devastated by the incident at UH's Ahuja Medical Center where more than 4,000 embryos were likely destroyed after a storage tank failure.
One of those families is the Plants family, who had five embryos stored in the compromised tank after Kate Plants was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2015.
Merriman says UH was supposed to file their answer to Kate and Jeremy Plants' lawsuit on Tuesday, but that never happened.
On Monday, Merriman says UH filed a motion with the court, saying they wanted leave so they didn't have to file an answer until consolidation is ruled on, but the judge didn't rule on that motion and didn't give the hospital leave or additional time.
Merriman says this is a legal strategy by UH because they want to delay these cases and have them consolidated in front of one judge. The Plants and others who Merriman represents don't want to be part of a class action suit. They want to tell their individual stories.
"I think it's an important thing for people to keep an eye on -- the disconnect in what they are saying publicly and how they are acting in court. Are they really taking responsibility? You take responsibility by answering a lawsuit. Their answer was due on Tuesday; they didn't file an answer," Merriman said.
He has filed for a motion for default judgement, asking the court to hold a hearing and hold UH in default which would find them responsible for what they did. They are waiting on the judges' decision but they are going to keep pressing this issue.
We reached out to UH but they would not comment on pending litigation, only saying they are continuing to focus on supporting the clinical and emotional needs of their patients.