Trial proceeds as 1 of 50 plaintiffs refuses settlement

A class action involving fifty plaintiffs will go ahead, after one plaintiff refused to accept a settlement offer. The case is against a drug-addicted anaesthetist and the organisations involved in his employment and registration, after he infected the women with hepatitis C through shared needles. The settlement offer was made “contingent on the woman not trying to go it alone” because the “defendants did not want to pay out all the women in the class action and then have to take part in a trial involving one victim.” Justice Beech said he could not force the woman to accept the settlement, but he ordered that she “be prevented from benefiting from the legal work done on behalf of the other victims” when the trial begins on Monday. The class action process is designed to save costs by allowing one trial to determine the outcome of a group of similar claims.