An Orange County Superior Court Judge has certified a class action against Abbott Medical Optics, Inc., on behalf of all California consumers who purchased a contact lens solution the Centers for Disease Control have linked to a parasitic infection that can cause blindness or the complete loss of an eye.
“This decision was made possible by the landmark ruling of the California Supreme Court in May that upheld the rights of consumers to file class action lawsuits to protect themselves against misleading advertising,” said plaintiffs’ lead trial lawyer Mark Robinson, of Robinson, Calcagnie & Robinson in Newport Beach (www.orangecountylaw.com), which made the announcement today.
The Supreme Court’s ruling in In re Tobacco II cases, no. S147345, reinstated a class action suit by smokers against the tobacco industry. Robinson argued for tobacco smokers in the case.
Orange County Superior Court Judge David C. Velasquez issued the certification ruling Nov. 12 against Santa Ana-based AMO, formerly known as Advanced Medical Optics, which produced Complete® MoisturePlus™ contact lens solution. The FDA in 2007 directed the company to conduct a Class I recall of the product, an action it reserves for situations in which it is reasonably probable that use of the product will cause serious injury or death.
Complete® MoisturePlus™ was part of the Complete® line of eye care products that Abbott Laboratories, Inc. obtained when it acquired Advanced Medical Optics earlier this year for $2.8 billion.
The plaintiffs are asking the company to refund to all California consumers the money they paid to purchase Complete® MoisturePlus™.
The lawsuit, Lazar vs. Advanced Medical Optics (OCSC Case No. 07 CC 01296), was filed on behalf of all California consumers who purchased Complete® MoisturePlus™. It alleges that AMO misled consumers into believing the product would effectively “clean” and “disinfect” their contact lenses even though the solution did not disinfect against Acanthamoeba and other harmful organisms that are known to contaminate contact lenses. The Acanthamoeba keratitis infection can inflict terrible pain, rob victims of their vision, cause permanent blindness and, in some cases, result in the surgical removal of the eye.
“This is a truly horrific infection that AMO could have and should have prevented. AMO put all consumers at risk,” said Ronald Labriola of Moore Labriola in Newport Beach, California, co-lead counsel for the Class. Labriola also represents over 60 people who suffered significant injuries after using Complete® MoisturePlus™.
“A product manufacturer cannot mislead consumers into believing that a product does something that it does not do, nor can it profit from such misrepresentations,” said James Quadra of Moscone, Emblidge & Quadra in San Francisco, co-lead counsel for the Class. “Consumers deserve compensation for AMO’s conduct.”
A similar, nationwide class action against AMO is pending in federal court in San Francisco.
Consumers who purchased Complete® MoisturePlus™ and want to participate in either class action should contact one of the attorneys identified below:
Mark Robinson—Robinson, Calcagnie & Robinson—949 720-1288
Ronald Labriola—Moore Labriola, LLP—949 209-9820
James Quadra—Moscone, Emblidge & Quadra, LLP—415 362-3599
Wendy Fleishman—Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP—212 355-9500
Michael Schmidt—The Schmidt Firm—866 223-3784
Robinson, Calcagnie & Robinson