Criteria for Class Certification Explained (Not Met Here)
The Fourth Department determined that an action by about 1900 patients who received insulin injections at defendant hospital was properly denied class certification. The patients were notified they may have been administered insulin by insulin pens shared by more than one patient and all were offered free testing for possible blood borne disease. No one tested positive for disease. The court concluded that whether a particular patient was actually exposed and whether exposure resulted in damages would have to be determined on a case by case basis. Therefore issues common to the class did not predominate:
“[A] class action may be maintained in New York only after the five prerequisites set forth in CPLR 901 (a) have been met, i.e., the class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable, common questions of law or fact predominate over questions affecting only individual members, the claims or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the class as a whole, the representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class, and a class action is superior to other available methods for the fair and efficient adjudication of the controversy” … . The class representative “bears the burden of establishing compliance with [*2]the requirements of both CPLR 901 and 902” … .
Where, as here, no plaintiff has tested positive for the blood-borne disease to which he or she allegedly was exposed as a result of defendant’s negligence, a prerequisite to recovery is proof of actual exposure to the blood-borne disease … . The issue of actual exposure will require individualized determinations with respect to each plaintiff. Further, even if members of the proposed class could establish such actual exposure, “the extent of the damages resulting therefrom [is a] question requiring individual investigation and separate proof as to each individual claim” … . Thus, we conclude that, “even if there are common issues in this case, those issues do not predominate” …, and “[t]he predominance of individualized factual questions . . . renders this case unsuitable for class treatment” … . Westfall v Olean Gen. Hosp., 2015 NY Slip Op 07396, 4th Dept 10-9-15