McKINNEY, Texas (CN) - Denying that its product killed a 5-year-old girl, a medical device maker sued a Dallas ABC affiliate for its "one-sided" reports and an attorney it claims is on a "crazed Jihad" to destroy the company.
Oxysure Systems sued WFAA Channel 8, reporter Jobin Panicker, station owner TEGNA Media, Dallas attorney Symone Redwine and her law practice, in Collin County District Court on Wednesday.
Oxysure, based in Frisco, Texas, denies that its Model 615 Portable Emergency Oxygen System caused the death of Meaghan Levy in December 2013 when she mysteriously started choking and the device was used on her at school.
Oxysure claims that a hospital found that Levy was choking on a swallowed push-pin and authorities ruled her death an accidental asphyxiation.
Oxysure believes its device was destroyed, and never returned to the company for examination. It claims Redwine began asking it about the chemical composition of its unit two years later and claimed that "she had new proof that the chemicals" caused Levy's death.
"When asked for such proof, Ms. Redwine never complied," the complaint states. "Instead of presenting Oxysure with proof of her claim, she began harassing Oxysure's business associations. She anonymously called Chemtrec and falsely reported that she was trying to save a little girl who was coughing up blood after using the Oxysure unit - when the caller suspiciously would not give her name but asked what chemical could possibly do that in the Oxysure unit, the Chemtrec agent did not answer [and] the call seems to have been ended. Chemtrec back-dialed the number and found that it rang at The Redwine Law Firm." Oxysure claims Redwine "attempted to extort" it by "threatening bad and negative publicity" that would hurt its stock price and business.
"Oxysure customers have been canceling orders and the share prices has suffered substantially because of it," the complaint states. "Ms. Redwine's phone calls and trickery were treated with their due seriousness by the recipients, costing Oxysure time and resources, and straining its business and shareholder relationships."
Oxysure says WFAA and Panicker broadcast a "so-called news story" about new developments in Levy's death on Oct. 21 that is "rife with false information." It claims that Panicker left no messages for comment and emailed no one at Oxysure "to verify his sources or test the veracity" of the allegations.
"All he had was the word of a young plaintiff's lawyer out to make money. That is all," the complaint states. "Mr. Paniker's one-sided story makes several false statements, namely ... that the Oxysure unit contains toxic chemicals that can kill the user upon inhalation, that one such toxic chemical is sodium carbonate, that Meaghan Levy did not die of asphyxiation, she died of 'caustic chemical poisoning' due to the Oxysure unit [and] that the Oxysure unit 'malfunctioned,'" among other things.
Oxysure says there is no evidence that Levy was found to have chemical markers in her blood indicating poisoning, nor any evidence that there were traces of slurry in her lungs to show she asphyxiated from something other than a push-pin.
Email messages to WFAA and Redwine late Thursday evening were not returned.
Oxysure's chairman and CEO, Julian Ross, said the company is "all about saving lives" and is proud of its track record.
"We will fight for what is right; telling both sides of the story truthfully is a minimum standard our shareholders, customers and WFAA viewers deserve," he said Thursday evening.
Oxysure's attorney, Mazin Sbaiti with Steckler LLP in Dallas, said he intends "to bring to bear the full force of the law to hold these defendants accountable" for their alleged actions.
"In my entire legal career I have never seen actions so egregious and patently false and intentionally damaging as this situation represents," he said in a statement.
Oxysure seeks declaratory judgment that Levy died from swallowing the push-pin and that its product is not toxic or dangerous. It seeks actual and punitive damages from Redwine and her practice for tortious interference.
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