Former inmate loses suit claiming he might have contracted hepatitis C from prostate biopsy

A Franklin County, Pa., judge found in favor of urology practice and awarded it some attorney fees

June 07, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH |

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — A Franklin County, Pa., judge recently made several decisions ending a lawsuit in which a former Waynesboro, Pa., man claimed he might have obtained hepatitis C from reused prostate biopsy needles.

Robert Eyler said in the lawsuit that he learned he contracted hepatitis C only after a November 2008 biopsy. Urology Associates of Chambersburg told patients last year it reused biopsy needles.

According to court documents, however, records from the former Franklin County Prison (now Franklin County Jail) indicate Eyler might have had the blood-borne infection in 2005, when he was an inmate.

Court of Common Pleas Judge Richard Walsh issued an order May 24. In it, he found in favor of the urology practice and awarded it some attorney fees.


Eyler’s attorney, Elaine M. Ross from the Philadelphia-based Beasley Firm, told the judge Feb. 21 she informed her client she wanted to withdraw herself from the case after having difficulty contacting him for several weeks.

Walsh addressed that matter in his order.

“This case must be ended. No purpose would be served by allowing plaintiff’s counsel to withdraw and to allow plaintiff to perpetuate falsehoods,” he wrote.

The defendants, who were represented by attorney Michael Badowski, asked for sanctions against Eyler’s attorney, $10,305 in attorneys’ fees, compensation of $5,000 to Dr. Louis Glass and Dr. Christopher Klinko, removal of Urology Associates-related information from and the issuance of a public statement by the Beasley Firm in response to an Oct. 4, 2011, article in The (Waynesboro) Record Herald.

“Any investigation done by plaintiff’s counsel was wholly inadequate,” Walsh wrote of Beasley Firm filing the lawsuit.

Walsh awarded attorneys’ fees of $9,334, but said he would refuse to order the firm to change its website or make a public statement.

“These remedies probably violate the First Amendment and ... the Pennsylvania Constitution,” he wrote.

Two other lawsuits were filed against the practice after its letter notifying patients of the needle reuse.

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