Courts likely to set CJD settlement at 60 million yen

February 16, 2002 The Daily Yomiuri (Tokyo)
The Tokyo and Otsu District courts, mediating lawsuits over the spread of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD), are likely to recommend the government and two companies pay settlements of about 50 million yen to 60 million yen per patient, sources close to the courts said Friday.

The defendants are scheduled to start talks with plaintiffs over the settlement next Friday at the Otsu District Court. The court is likely to submit a settlement plan that will include financial recommendations to both plaintiffs and defendants as early as next week. The share of settlement to be paid by the government and the companies is a focal point of the settlement talks, and the plaintiffs have already submitted opinions to the courts, in which they demand the government pay at least a quarter of the total settlement.

The two companies involved are B. Braun, a German pharmaceutical manufacturer and Nihon B.S.S., which imported dura mater believed to be the source of the CJD infection.

According to the sources, the courts will likely offer two different amounts of money to each of about 20 plaintiffs: A fixed amount to be paid to all the patients seeking a settlement in the case and a variable amount to cover damages based on items such as lost wages and age that differ widely from patient to patient.

In addition, the courts are expected to reveal the formula used to calculate settlement payments.

This is intended to allow the state and companies to settle on a standard for settlements with patients and their family members, setting a precedent for future cases.

In the current suits, both courts issued statements in November recognizing the liability of the government and the companies and their obligation to pay damages to the victims. Following the statements, the plaintiffs submitted to the courts a proposal that the government and the companies would pay an average of about 90 million yen per plaintiff, including variable damages with a minimum payment of about 60 million yen.

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