A class action involving 50 women will be forced into court after one woman refused to accept the group settlement offered. The group settlement was contingent on the women not pursuing further action, or breaking away to pursue the case on their own.
The women involved are suing James Latham Peters, an anesthetist for infecting them with hepatitis C, other named defendants in the trial include the surgery that hired him, the Doctor operating the clinic at the time of Peters employment, and the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency.
It is alleged that Peters was responsible for the women being infected with hepatitis C during surgery between June 2008 and December 2009.
In 1996, Peters informed the Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria (replaced by the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency) of an addition to fentanyl and pethidine but did not disclose his hepatitis status. The Health Department later became aware of his status but failed to pass on the information.
Peters was jailed last year by Supreme Court Justice Terry Forrest, who sentenced Peters to 14 years imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 10 years after he pleaded guilty to 55 counts of negligently causing injury to patients. On appeal three Court of Appeal judges unanimously upheld the sentence, with Court of Appeal President Justice Maxwell describing the sentence as unimpeachable.
Peters would inject himself with pre-filled syringes of fentanyl, and then administer the remaining dosage to patients as they underwent surgery.
Court will commence on Monday and is expected to last 4 weeks.