Three Class Actions Present Big Trouble for Arizona Blood Testing Company

Max Kellogg | Legal Staff Writer

Three class-action lawsuits in Northern California have been filed against the Arizona-based blood-testing firm Theranos. The first and third class actions were filed May 26 and   May 30 respectively, alleging that Theranos falsely advertised its products to consumers. The second class action was filed May 27, alleging that the company breached its contract with customers by not providing what had been promised—a minimally invasive procedure and accurate test results.

Theranos specializes in “non-invasive” blood testing, selling blood tests to individuals in Wellness Centers at Walgreens Pharmacies. The company claimed that its proprietary technology was capable of analyzing dozens of diagnostic tests with a single drop of blood. Its “smaller than a dime” test tube has become almost a hallmark for the company. Three lawsuits emerged after findings that advertisements produced by Theranos, which claimed the company was in compliance with federal regulation, were created during a time when Theranos was regularly sanctioned by federal authorities, including the Centers for Medicare, Medicaid Services and the FDA. In addition, the lawsuits allege that lab tests were performed at the wrong settings and test data from Theranos differed from two of the largest laboratory companies enough to where it would negatively impact patient care.

Arizona citizen Casey Jones filed his class-action suit after his doctor ordered a blood panel as part of a health physical. According to the complaint, Jones chose Theranos to test his sample because of the company’s less invasive procedure and highly acclaimed technology. When he arrived at Walgreens, he was subjected to having vials of blood drawn instead of the finger prick procedure of which he was informed and promised. Shortly after this procedure, Jones read reports of Theranos giving inaccurate results and was concerned that his results were possibly inaccurate as well. The company recently announced on May 19 that it had either voided or restated two year’s worth of test results. According to attorneys from McCuneWright LLP, "as a result, tens of thousands of patients may have been given incorrect blood-test results, been subject to unnecessary or potentially harmful treatments, and/or been denied the opportunity to seek treatment for a treatable condition.” Between a procedure Jones did not want and the potential for inaccurate results, Jones filed suit and believes that there are many others in a similar situation.

Respected critics have come forward who state that Theranos’ “tests are 60 percent less accurate than the two leading labs on the market.” Jones’ attorney is confident that a sizeable class-action lawsuit can be made.

Theranos contends that there is no merit to the cases, that it will “vigorously defend” all claims and that there is no evidence that the tests themselves were inaccurate. However, Jones’ attorney Robert Carey likens this situation to having a pacemaker procedure performed only to later find that it has 50% failure rate. According to Carey, “You don’t have to sit and wait for it to break to have a claim.”

The cases are: M.P.B. v. Theranos, Inc., No. 3:16-cv- 02810 (N.D. Cal.); Jones v. Theranos, Inc., No. 3:16-cv- 02835 (N.D. Cal.); R.G. v. Theranos, Inc. 5:16-cv- 02891 (N.D. Cal) 

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