SAN FRANCISCO – Palo Alto-based Theranos is in the midst of a class-action lawsuit after the company revealed in May the results of thousands of its blood tests had to be thrown out because of unreliable results.
Theranos, according to its website, gets its name from a combination of the words therapy and diagnosis. The company collects blood using a finger-stick device it called Edison, which takes a few drops of blood instead of using a needle and vial as in traditional tests. A list of hundreds of different tests can be found on its website.
Among the suit’s allegations against Theranos include that the company did not have approval from regulators to use its Edison testing device for anything other than a herpes simplex test.
The law firm of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, which has an office in San Francisco, filed a suit in May on behalf of plaintiffs in California and Arizona. California and Arizona were the two states where Theranos tests were available.
On June 21, San Francisco law firm Kaplan Fox and Kilsheimer joined the suit, filing the class action in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
The class action brought forth is on behalf of customers who bought a lab test from Theranos from 2013 until the present.
“We currently have a case in Northern District California and one filed two days ago in District Court of Arizona,” Robert Carey, partner at Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, told the Northern California Record on July 1.
“We filed suit because Theranos was deceiving its customers and not providing what was promised,” Carey said.
He said the class action is seeking “monetary relief and all other damages available based on the facts, including punitives.”
Carey said he does not know exactly how many members will join the class-action suit.
“The product sold quite well for two years in Walgreens across Maricopa County, Arizona,” he said.
Walgreens had partnered with Theranos for blood tests in its in-store clinics, however the drug store chain has since terminated its relationship with Theranos. Walgreens is named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by attorneys at Girard Gibs in San Francisco. That suit states that Walgreens did not tell customers when it learned that the blood test results were not reliable.
Sean Eskovitz, a partner with Wilkinson Walsh and Eskovitz in Los Angeles, represents Theranos in the case. He said seven complaints have been filed against Theranos.
“One such complaint has thus far been voluntarily dismissed,” Eskovtiz told the Northern California Record.
He said a court date has not been scheduled for the case.
“Theranos is currently working with the plaintiffs to attempt to coordinate the litigation in advance of Theranos’ anticipated motion to dismiss the cases,” Eskovitz said.
He said Theranos plans to “vigorously defend itself against these claims.”
“We always think these things should be arbitrated or negotiated before it goes straight into the courts and clogs the court system,” Julie Griffiths of California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse told The Northern California Record about the case.
Last year, Forbes Magazine ranked Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes, 32, among the richest self-made American women with a net worth of $4.5 billion. This year, the magazine estimated her net worth at zero dollars. She founded the company in 2003.