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Law firm to represent more than 150 Cordlife parents over their children’s cord blood

Law firm to represent more than 150 Cordlife parents over their children’s cord blood

Source: Straits Times
Article Date: 21 May 2024
Author: Zhaki Abdullah

The group includes parents whose children’s cord blood was affected by the temperature rises in Cordlife’s storage tanks and dry shippers.

Law firm Peter Low Chambers (PLC) has said it is representing 157 parents who stored their children’s cord blood with beleaguered private cord blood bank Cordlife.

In a statement on May 20, the law firm said it had solicited concerns and queries from parents verified to have contracts with Cordlife and gathered the various iterations of agreements the cord blood bank had entered into in previous years.

“In the first stage of legal work, PLC will render a written legal opinion, based on an agreed-upon scope distilled from the concerns and queries obtained, to advise these Cordlife parents on their rights and remedies,” the firm said.

The group includes parents whose children’s cord blood was affected by the temperature rises in Cordlife’s storage tanks and dry shippers, in addition to those informed by Cordlife that their children’s cord blood was unaffected or at “low risk” of being affected.

Coordinating the group’s efforts is a nine-member team of parent volunteers, said PLC.

Registration for the legal opinion was closed on May 10. However, the law firm said that after the legal opinion is rendered, other Cordlife parents will be offered the opportunity to join in any courses of action proposed by the firm subject to payment of fees, among other requirements.

In November 2023, it was revealed that cryopreserved cord blood units – which must be stored at temperatures no higher than minus 150 deg C – in seven of Cordlife’s 22 storage tanks were exposed to suboptimal storage temperatures.

Around 7,500 cord blood units in two tanks and in a dry shipper – used to transport cord blood units at extremely low temperatures – have been deemed non-viable and unlikely to be suitable for stem cell transplants.

The Straits Times reported earlier in May that international law firm Withers KhattarWong was in the midst of onboarding about 400 affected Cordlife parents for a possible representative-action lawsuit, where a few claimants can bring a case to court on behalf of a larger group with their consent.

Partners at Withers KhattarWong later told The Business Times that such a representative-action suit could take at least two years to conclude, and that the case was still at an early fact-gathering and consolidation stage.

On May 2, Cordlife announced that it had received its first letter of demand from lawyers of an unnamed client, with the amount claimed between $60,000 and $250,000.

The cord blood bank is also in the midst of proceedings in the Small Claims Tribunals – which deal with claims not exceeding $20,000 – over a case lodged in February.

Source: Straits Times © SPH Media Limited. Permission required for reproduction.

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