San Francisco, May 16, 2018 — Three class action lawsuits focused on the mishandling of thousands of embryos and eggs at Pacific Fertility Center have now been combined in the U.S. District Court for Northern California. The federal judge overseeing the case appointed Peiffer Wolf Carr & Kane PLC, Girard Gibbs LLP, and Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP (Lieff Cabraser) to serve as interim co-lead counsel, responsible for directing and prosecuting the plaintiffs’ claims.
In March, Pacific Fertility Center admitted that thousands of embryos and eggs may have been compromised. Pacific Fertility emailed clients a notice informing them that their stored tissue “may have been impacted” when the liquid nitrogen in Pacific’s Tank No. 4 fell below necessary levels. The consolidated class action lawsuit charges Pacific Fertility Center with breach of contract and negligence, among other claims, relating to the mishandling of the stored eggs and embryos in the cryogenic storage tank failure.
Peiffer Wolf Carr & Kane Partner Adam Wolf said: “All of the law firms in this matter are focused first and foremost on the victims of the Pacific Fertility tragedy. We are talking about hundreds of individuals and couples who lost their opportunity to be parents in the manner they had expected. The scope of such a loss is hard to fathom for someone who has not experienced it. Our goal is to make sure that these individuals get their day in court.”
Attorney Sarah R. London, who filed Lieff Cabraser’s complaint on behalf of the plaintiffs, stated: “Pacific Fertility’s mishandling of the eggs and embryos is irreparable and devastating. And heartbreakingly, for some victims, the eggs and embryos in Tank 4 were the last and only chance to have a biological child. These women and their families deserve to be heard in a court of law.”
“This tank failure has caused severe anguish and damage to the individuals and families who were affected,” said Adam Polk of Girard Gibbs. “We are committed to holding Pacific Fertility Center accountable for its role and for the harm it has needlessly inflicted on so many people.”
The court order notes that the law firms have already undertaken “significant effort on behalf of proposed class members, including a thorough and factual technical investigation into the March 4, 2018 incident; consultation with experts; meetings with numerous families whose eggs and/or embryos were stored in the tank at issue; review of client documents; and coordination with defense counsel regarding consolidation of the three related actions.”
The lawsuit alleges that Pacific Fertility’s gross mishandling of eggs and embryos has caused panic, confusion, anxiety, devastation, and irreparable damage to hundreds of prospective parents and families. The suit further alleges that since the incident, Pacific Fertility has not taken appropriate affirmative efforts to provide clear, consistent communication to those affected, leaving victims confused and even more anxious, during an already emotionally difficult time.
In addition, it is alleged that Pacific Fertility told patients that they could not know for certain whether any of the eggs and embryos were irretrievably damaged until they were thawed, so in order to determine whether the embryos remained viable despite having been exposed to unsafe conditions, plaintiffs would have to try to get pregnant with those embryos, even if they were not ready to do so. These options would entail considerable cost and risk, and would be fraught with fear, stress, anxiety, and likely heartache.
The Pacific Fertility Center incident attracted widespread national attention not only because of the scale of the embryos and eggs believed affected, but also because of the coincidental timing of a very similar tragedy at a fertility center in Cleveland, Ohio.
About Girard Gibbs
Girard Gibbs LLP is a national litigation firm representing plaintiffs in lawsuits in state and federal courts. The firm serves individuals in cases involving catastrophic personal injury and consumer protection laws. Girard Gibbs has been named a Tier 1 law firm for plaintiffs’ mass tort and class-action litigation by the U.S. News & World Report. Our attorneys have been named among the Best Lawyers in America © for six consecutive years and have been recognized among the Top Plaintiff Lawyers in California. Learn more.
About Peiffer Wolf Carr & Kane
Peiffer Wolf Carr & Kane is a national law firm with offices in San Francisco, Cleveland, New York, Los Angeles, Missouri, and New Orleans. PW is nationally recognized for its representing victims who suffered the loss of their embryos and eggs. The firm has put together a sophisticated team of lawyers dedicated to representing families and victims of reckless and negligent fertility clinics. Collectively, our attorneys are committed to fighting on behalf of victims and their families. Learn more.
About Lieff Cabraser
Recognized as “one of the nation’s premier plaintiffs’ firms” by The American Lawyer, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP is a seventy-plus attorney law firm with offices in San Francisco, New York, and Nashville. Since our founding 46 years ago in 1972, Lieff Cabraser has litigated and resolved hundreds of class action lawsuits and thousands of individual cases, including the successful representation of thousands of families across America in individual lawsuits due to the injuries they suffered from product defects and mass disasters. Learn more.
Peiffer Wolf Carr & Kane PLC, Girard Gibbs LLP, and Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP