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Area residents file suit in looted body parts case

May 23, 2006 | More area residents are suing a company accused of selling looted body parts from corpses to hospitals for tissue transplants.

The latest filings bring to eight the total number of lawsuits pending in Baton Rouge federal District Court.

The cases target Biomedical Tissue Service; a New York medical supply company that allegedly sold illegal and unscreened tissue and bone to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center and other unnamed hospitals in the state.

Owners Michael Mastromarino and Joseph Nicelli and others are accused of secretly carving up bodies from funeral parlors and city morgues and forging death certificates and organ-donor consent forms to make it appear as if the bones, skin, tendons, heart vales and other tissues were removed legally.

A Staten Island attorney who is representing Mastromarino and Biomedical Tissue Service has said his client “is just as taken aback as all these people are that he was misled.”

Filing suit are Graden and Diana McCool Jr. of East Baton Rouge Parish; and Daniel and Susan Ballard, Douglas and Genie Hoover, Steven and Velma Brock and Jack and Virgina Blacklock, all of Ascension Parish.

U.S. District Judge Frank Polozola has issued a stay in the cases until a decision is made on whether to consolidate them with others across the country.

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