Monday, April 12, 2010 | 6:30 p.m.
Jury selection began Monday in the first trial linked to the outbreak of hepatitis C in Southern Nevada.
A lawsuit filed by Henry Chanin is the first to go before a jury, which will decide whether drugmakers should be held responsible after Chanin allegedly contracted hepatitis C from a contaminated vial of the anesthetic propofol during a routine procedure at the Desert Shadow Endoscopy Center, 4725 Burnham Ave.
Thousands of lawsuits were filed in the wake of the largest hepatitis C scare in U.S. history, with about 300 people claiming to have contracted the disease at one of the clinics linked to the outbreak. Many of the lawsuits have been settled.
Chanin has settled portions of his lawsuit with other defendants, including the nurse and doctor who performed the procedure.
About 50,000 people were notified they needed to undergo testing for hepatitis C, hepatitis B and HIV after an investigation in 2008 by the Southern Nevada Health District.
Chanin and his wife, Lorraine, are suing drugmaker Teva Parenteral Medicines, Inc., and Baxter Healthcare Corporation, the companies that made and distributed, respectively, the propofol used at the clinic.
Chanin’s attorneys say the drug was distributed in large bottles that contained five times the amount needed for routine procedures and the size of the doses encouraged reuse of the medicine. The suit also says warning labels on the vials were inadequate.
Chanin is the headmaster and upper school director at the Meadows School in Las Vegas.
A questionnaire narrowed a pool of 500 potential by about half, attorneys said Monday. Jury selection is expected to last through the end of the week, with the trial portion lasting about three weeks.
District Court Judge Jessie Walsh is presiding over the case.