A proposed class action lawsuit claims that Microgenics Corporation and parent company Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc. produced urinalysis analyzers that generated “hundreds” of false positives at New York correctional facilities, causing inmates to be unjustly punished.
According to the complaint, Microgenics was awarded a contract in 2018 to supply Indiko Plus urinalysis analyzers, which can be used to conduct drug tests, to the New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS). As a condition of the contract, the defendants, the lawsuit states, were required to ensure the analyzers were manufactured and maintained to function properly, as well as train DOCCS employees on the correct use of the machines. The case contends that the defendants failed in their duty, however, as the Indiko Plus devices suffered from “cross reactivity” problems that triggered numerous false positive results. As a result, the case argues, “hundreds” of inmates in DOCCS custody were punished for Suboxone/buprenorphine use despite not taking the drug.
With regard to the lead plaintiff, the case states that while incarcerated at Albion Correctional Facility, the woman had received preferred housing and family visitation privileges, contingent on passing drug tests, as a result of her “exemplary behavior.” After one of these family visits, the plaintiff, the suit says, provided a urine sample to be analyzed with an Indiko Plus machine as part of a routine drug test. According to the complaint, the results came back positive for Suboxone/buprenorphine even though the plaintiff had “not taken that substance, any substance known to trigger a positive result, or any other illicit substance.” As a consequence of the test result, the plaintiff was allegedly stripped of her preferred housing and visitation privileges and received a “blackmark” on her record that she feared would endanger the success of her ongoing immigration proceedings.
The case claims DOCCS later overturned the plaintiff’s disciplinary hearing result and admitted the test had generated a false positive result. The agency, according to the complaint, is currently in the process of overturning all positive Suboxone/buprenorphine results generated by Indiko Plus analyzers in 2019 due to an apparent “cross reactivity” issue with the machines. DOCCS is now investigating the defendants to determine the cause of “widespread and rampant false positive test results.”
The suit seeks to represent a putative class covering everyone who tested positive for Suboxone/buprenorphine while in DOCCS custody as a result of an Indiko Plus urinalysis in 2019.