UnitedHealth Group Inc., the biggest U.S. medical insurer, is set to face claims that it failed to properly oversee a Las Vegas doctor who gave colonoscopy patients hepatitis C by mishandling the anesthetic Propofol.

Jurors in state court in Las Vegas are set to hear opening statements today in the first trial of lawsuits against Minnetonka, Minnesota-based UnitedHealth over the actions of Dipak Desai, a former gastroenterologist accused of infecting patients with hepatitis C in 2008 by reusing Propofol vials during procedures. Desai was hired by a unit of the insurer as a doctor for its health-maintenance organization plans in Nevada, according to court filings.

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