Becnel taking on Bausch & Lomb lawsuit

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 5, 2006



RESERVE – Just when you thought nationally renowned class action attorney Daniel Becnel Jr. of Reserve had all he could handle, look again.

Becnel is now in the thick of the latest class action movement nationally, after the earlier discovery that Bausch & Lomb eye solution products are being accused as the culprit in a serious eye infection that could potentially cause blindness.

Bausch & Lomb pulled its shipments of ReNu contact lens solution off the market in April after a number of people reported getting a serious eye infection, later diagnosed as Fusarium keratitis.

Referring to the withdrawal of MoistureLoc, Bausch & Lomb Chairman and CEO Ronald Zarrella said &#8220Bausch & Lomb’s top priority is the safety of our customers, and we want them to have complete confidence in our products.”

Becnel now has &#8220over 1,000 clients” who have asked him to represent them in a pending class action suit against the Bausch & Lomb company. Many other attorneys nationally are also putting together groups of clients against the company.

While the St. John attorney had already gotten recent national news for heading class action suits in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, he quickly jumped into the fray against the eye solution manufacturer for what he calls a &#8220gigantic case” that could be settled &#8220in the billions.”

Becnel has been involved in nine previous class action cases that were settled for $1 billion or more, led by the massive California tobacco settlement for $280 billion (to be paid over 20 years).

He believes the Bausch & Lomb case will likely turn out to be one of the billion dollar judgments.

&#8220It should be one of the biggest cases I have handled,” he said. &#8220At least one over a billion dollars. People have been blinded, had to have cornea transplants, and of course had serious eye infections that will lead to numerous cateract surgeries for the rest of their lives. And the recurrence of eye disease could be permanent for some people.”

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed two months ago that they had 109 cases of the rare, but serious eye infection that may cause loss of vision. The cases covered 17 states at the time, and the number of cases has grown since then.

Of the cases of eye disease, a vast majority reported using the Bausch & Lomb products, FDA officials reported.

Becnel’s initial case filing was in the name of Marcia Lamarche from Lafayette Parish. She claims to have suffered a severe eye infection lasting two months, which caused pain, irritation, vision problems and embarrassment.

Becnel is asking the United States Western District Court to certify the case as a class action, and Becnel is already in the process of holding seminars with other lawyers to educate them about the case and add more clients to the suit.

Becnel is even speaking on the case at an October, 2006 seminar in Las Vegas, where he will be part of the guest speaking lineup that includes former President Bill Clinton.

With approximately 20 class action suits Becnel is currently involved with, he was asked why he wanted to add another case to his lineup.

&#8220I do it because I’m the one who knows how to best do these things. Who else is going to stand up for these people?” he said. &#8220Besides, a lot of lawyers want to make the money I have, but they don’t want to work for it. These cases take a lot of work and I’m not afraid to do it.”