University Hospitals files court papers denying liability in fertility center failure

CLEVELAND - University Hospitals is defending itself in the wake of the fertility clinic failure that resulted in the loss of thousands of eggs and embryos.

In a new court filing, UH has denied liability for the incident at Ahuja Medical Center back in March. Hospital attorneys filed documents in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court saying that families signed consent forms that spelled out the risks involved in freezing specimens.

A catastrophic failure in a storage tank destroyed 4-thousand embryos, resulting in more than 50 lawsuits.

Tom Merriman, an attorney representing many families says, "They are denying liability in this case. They blame unnamed third parties, unexpected events, even the victims themselves. Saying 'Oh well, you knew the risks.' That's not what they've been saying publicly for the past several months. It's not what their CEO said when he did a PR video apologizing and taking responsibility."

UH released a statement Monday that reads

"University Hospitals continues to move these cases towards resolution and has filed its formal answers to the complaints, as required by Court rules. We would strongly encourage review of the entire legal document that was submitted to the Court in response to the numerous allegations made by plaintiffs’ attorneys. The Court will review each element of our response in detail as the legal process moves forward.
We recognize the sorrow this situation has caused patients who were affected. Our Fertility Center patients trusted us for their care and we know we need to re-gain their trust. All of us at University Hospitals remain committed to providing high-quality, patient-centered medical care to the more than 1.2 million patients we serve in Northeast Ohio.”

The hospital says it was required by court rules to file formal answers to the lawsuits.

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