National Class Action Certified Against Contact Lens Solution Maker, AMO Canada Company and Advanced Medical Optics, Inc.

National ClassTORONTO, March 31 /CNW/

In a decision released March 28, 2011, Mr. Justice Strathy of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice certified a national class proceeding on behalf of Canadians who used AMO® Complete® All-In-One Moisture PlusTM contact lens care solution.

The Solution was recalled from markets around the world in May 2007 following reports associating the Solution with Acanthamoeba Keratitis ("AK"), a debilitating eye infection that can lead to permanent vision loss, cornea transplants and blindness. Scientific evidence reveals that users of the Solution are 17 times more likely to develop AK than non-users.

In certifying the action, Justice Strathy rejected the defence arguments that a related class action pending in British Columbia was the preferable procedure for resolving the claims of class members and that the action should be stayed in favour of the British Columbia action.

"We are obviously pleased with this decision. Justice Strathy's reasons reaffirmed one of the foremost policy goals of the Class Proceedings Act by providing access to justice to thousands of users of the Solution, including those who have suffered blindness," said Joel P. Rochon, who is leading the class action effort.

Donna Pollack, the representative plaintiff of the class, who underwent a cornea transplant and has been left with permanent loss of vision, stated: "My independent life stopped dead for over two years. I became blind in my right eye and as a teacher of young children, this was very troubling. The pain I suffered from the chemical treatments and the infection eating away at my cornea was unbearable."

Ashley Greening of St. John's, another victim of the AMO product, said: "the day I contracted AK was the worst day of my life. I was forced to leave university, went blind, suffered just incredible pain and then had my eye surgically removed. This is not something any 21-year-old should have to endure. I hope that one day the executives at AMO and Abbott Laboratories will understand just how much we have lost to this disease."

Certification did not involve an assessment of the case on the merits and the allegations raised in the proceeding have not yet been proven in court. The case is Pollack v. Advanced Medical Optics Inc., Court File No. 07-CV-333992CP.

Click here for the AMO Certification Decision