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Fire Captain Suffers Blindness from Contaminated Eye Drops; Files Lawsuit 

  A fire captain from Collier County is among at least 68 victims who have either died or lost part of their vision due to a multistate outbreak of deadly bacteria associated with eye drops. Adam Di Sarro, a fire captain with over two decades of service at the North Collier Fire District, has been […]

Fire captain suffers blindness from contaminated eye drops; files lawsuit 

Eye Drop Blindness Lawsuits

 

A fire captain from Collier County is among at least 68 victims who have either died or lost part of their vision due to a multistate outbreak of deadly bacteria associated with eye drops.

Adam Di Sarro, a fire captain with over two decades of service at the North Collier Fire District, has been blinded in one eye after using defective eyedrops. He is one of 68 victims across 16 states affected by the outbreak. Di Sarro began treatment for his symptoms in October 2022, as mentioned in a federal complaint.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have advised patients and medical professionals to discontinue the use of EzriCare or Delsam Pharma’s Artificial Tears products. These products, manufactured by India-based Global Pharma Healthcare, were recalled in February due to potential bacterial contamination linked to the multistate outbreak.

Heather Mazurkiewicz, a North Collier Fire District spokesperson, stated that Di Sarro’s situation has significantly impacted the department, as personnel must be shuffled to cover his shifts while he recovers. Despite this, the North Collier firefighters maintain a strong bond and will support Di Sarro and his family throughout the ordeal.

Fire Chief Eloy Ricardo issued a public statement expressing support for Di Sarro and highlighted the far-reaching consequences of the negligence associated with the contaminated eyedrops for the department and the community.

As of March 14, the CDC confirmed three fatalities, eight cases of permanent vision loss, and four instances of eyeball removal due to the outbreak. The drug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain connected to the recalled products has spread across 16 states, with 68 patients identified so far.

Di Sarro filed a federal lawsuit on February 23 against EzriCare, EzriRx, AruPharma, and Amazon, seeking $75,000 in damages. The lawsuit alleges that Di Sarro was unaware of the contamination in the eyedrops he purchased, which subsequently led to severe eye issues, including blindness in his left eye. The complaint includes four counts: strict product liability, negligence per se, negligence, and a violation of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

What is Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act?

Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) is a state law designed to protect consumers from unfair, deceptive, or unconscionable business practices in trade or commerce. The Act is codified in Florida Statutes Chapter 501, Part II, and its primary purpose is to promote fair business practices and deter fraudulent or unethical conduct by businesses.

FDUTPA prohibits businesses from engaging in:

  1. Unfair practices: Business practices that are likely to cause substantial injury to consumers, which is not reasonably avoidable by consumers, and is not outweighed by any benefits to consumers or competition.
  2. Deceptive practices: Business practices that involve misrepresentations or omissions that are likely to mislead consumers acting reasonably under the circumstances.
  3. Unconscionable practices: Business practices that are grossly unjust or substantially one-sided, exploiting a consumer’s lack of knowledge, experience, ability, or capacity to a grossly unfair degree.

Some examples of practices that may be considered deceptive or unfair under FDUTPA include false advertising, bait-and-switch tactics, misrepresenting the quality or characteristics of goods or services, and charging unconscionable prices.

Consumers, businesses, and the Florida Attorney General can bring actions under FDUTPA. Remedies available under the Act include:

  1. Injunctive relief: Courts may issue orders prohibiting businesses from continuing deceptive or unfair practices.
  2. Restitution: Courts may order businesses to return money or property obtained as a result of deceptive or unfair practices.
  3. Damages: Consumers may recover actual damages, which represent the monetary losses they incurred as a result of deceptive or unfair practices. In some cases, courts may also award attorney’s fees and costs to the prevailing party.
  4. Civil penalties: The Florida Attorney General may pursue civil penalties against businesses that engage in deceptive or unfair practices, with penalties up to $10,000 per violation or up to $15,000 per violation involving senior citizens or disabled persons.

It is important to note that the FDUTPA is a state law and only applies to practices occurring within Florida. Other states may have similar laws to protect consumers from deceptive and unfair trade practices.

CONTACT PARKER WAICHMAN LLP FOR A FREE CASE REVIEW

If you lost a loved one suffered harm due to a contaminated eye drops, you may have the right to seek justice and compensation for your damages. The national product liability attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP are here to help you understand your legal options and file your defective product lawsuit, if qualified.

The statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit is limited by law. Call Parker Waichman LLP today at 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER (1-800-968-7529) to receive a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our national product liability attorneys. Our toll-free number is available 24/7, so you can call us anytime, day or night. We are here to answer your questions, listen to your concerns, and help your family receive justice and financial compensation.

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