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Corboy & Demetrio Files 40 Lawsuits for Patients with Frozen Sperm Destroyed at Northwestern Lab

08.20.2013

The Chicago law firm of Corboy & Demetrio has filed 40 separate lawsuits, one for each of the patients whose sperm samples were destroyed while stored in a chamber owned by Northwestern Memorial Hospital located in a lab maintained by the Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation. Both Northwestern entities are defendants in the lawsuits.

“Most of the plaintiffs have suffered illness or were undergoing medical treatment that would likely render them infertile.  Freezing their sperm was the only real hope they had for ever having biological children,” according to Corboy & Demetrio attorney Matthew T. Jenkins, who along with Thomas A. Demetrio and Michael K. Demetrio are working on the case.

The negligence lawsuits allege that in April of 2012, the cryopreservation and storage procedure at Northwestern failed, causing damage to semen and testicular tissue.  The lawsuit further alleges that after it failed, Northwestern failed to adequately monitor and respond when it knew or should have known that its system failed.

The lawsuits also allege Northwestern was negligent because it put all samples into one tank when it had “numerous additional tanks” available.

The lawsuits come after a Cook County judge earlier granted Corboy & Demetrio’s Emergency Bill of Discovery, ordering the defendants to preserve and turn over documents relating to the cryogenic system machinery after a few men came forward with the allegations.  That number swelled to 40 as word spread among patients of the alleged catastrophic failure at the lab. 

The order, issued by Presiding Judge Moshe Jacobius, Cook County Circuit Chancery Division, required Northwestern to turn over numerous documents, including all inspection records of the cryopreservation and storage system and all communications about maintenance work on the system.  It also allowed Corboy & Demetrio representatives to inspect the cryogenic storage system that failed.

Based on the evidence it uncovered, Corboy & Demetrio filed the lawsuits today.  Three of the plaintiffs were minors at the time, the youngest was just 14 years old with a rare form of cancer.  All plaintiffs’ identities are being protected due to the sensitive nature of the lawsuits and are filed under John Doe.

According to Jenkins, other plaintiffs include a 33-year-old man who has leukemia and was told that his radical chemotherapy treatments would likely make him infertile; a 26-year-old man who suffers from an illness that could render him infertile; and a 48-year-old man who had his sperm preserved because he too suffers from an illness that could render him infertile. 

Case information:  John Doe v. Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation,  No. 2013L003L0006 In Re: Northwestern Cryogenic Tank Cases, Cook County Circuit Court Law Division.

Media Contact:  Helen Lucaitis, Esq., Communications Director  

                                 Corboy & Demetrio, P.C.

                                33 N. Dearborn Street, 21st floor

                                 Chicago, IL 60602

Phone:  312-346-3191 or 312-550-2077 (cell 24/7) 

 Email:    hhl@corboydemetrio.com

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Corboy & Demetrio
33 N. Dearborn Street
21st Floor
Chicago, IL 60602