Recently, there have been a number of lawsuits filed alleging that Fresenius’s acid concentrates, namely GranuFlo and NaturaLyte, caused a hemodialysis patient’s heart attack and eventual death.  Fresenius Medical Care (FMC), headquartered in Germany, is the largest dialysis services and products company in both the U.S. and the world.  DaVita owns and operates over 1,600 dialysis clinics in the United States and is one of the largest providers of in-center dialysis treatment in the world.

Here is an overview of some of these lawsuits:

(1)   Arthurine Williams filed a wrongful death suit on behalf of her husband Johnny against both Fresenius and DaVita on July 27, 2012 in Federal Court in the Southern District of Alabama.  Complaint, Williams v. Fresenius USA, Inc., et al., No. 2:12CV02576 (N.D.Ala. filed July 27, 2012), 2012 WL 3202802.  Johnny Williams suffered a heart attack and died after receiving hemodialysis treatment at a DaVita Ensley clinic in Birmingham, Alabama on July 28, 2010.  He had been given GranuFlo during his treatment.

(2)   Betty Lemmond filed a wrongful death suit on behalf of her husband Dizzy against both Fresenius and DaVita on August 10, 2012 in Federal Court in the Southern District of Alabama.  Complaint, Lemmond v. Fresenius USA, Inc., et al. No. 2:12CV02678 (N.D.Ala. filed August 10, 2012), 2012 WL 3582048.  Dizzy was given GranuFlo at a DaVita clinic in Sylacauga, Alabama and soon thereafter suffered a heart attack and died on August 11, 2010.

(3)   Waddell Bishop of Dublin, Georgia filed a wrongful death suit on September 14, 2012 in the Southern District of Georgia.  The suit claims that Fresenius’s GranuFlo and NaturaLyte products caused his mother’s cardiovascular death on September 16, 2010.   Complaint, Bishop v. Fresenius USA, Inc., et al., No. CV612-86 (S.D.Ga. filed Sept. 14, 2012), 2012 WL 4361052. His suit sets forth claims of “strict liability, negligence, failure to warn, breach of warranty, fraudulent misrepresentation and concealment, negligent misrepresentation and concealment, gross negligence, wantonness, unjust enrichment and wrongful death.”  Bishop’s complaint alleges that Fresenius knew but failed to disclose the significant risks presented by the two dialysis products, such as congestive heart failure, sudden cardiac death, and cardiopulmonary arrest.

All three suits claim that Fresenius and DaVita knew of the potential dangers, but failed to warn patients and clinics.

Check the Thompson & Tredennick Blog for updates on further developments regarding GranuFlo & NaturaLyte.

Ted Tredennick is a Partner at Thompson & Tredennick.