SCOTUS Refuses to Hear J&J Appeal of $140M Children’s Motrin Award

Posted by Sarah Showard | Mar 29, 2016 | 0 Comments

SCOTUS Refuses to Hear J&J Appeal of $140M Children’s Motrin Award

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear Johnson & Johnson's appeal of a $140 million verdict that found the drug manufacturer failed to warn that Children's Motrin pain reliever could cause a debilitating skin condition. The rejection of J&J's appeal means that one of the largest verdicts ever awarded in Massachusetts will stand.

The plaintiffs in the case -- Samantha Reckis and her parents -- filed suit against J&J when Samantha developed toxic epidermal necrolysis after taking Children's Motrin at the age of 7.   Toxic epidermal necrolysis permanently damages the skin's mucous membranes. Samantha lost 90% of her skin and 80% of her lung capacity. In addition, she is now blind.

Plaintiffs contended that the medication should have carried a warning about toxic epidermal necrolysis and a related skin condition -- Stevens-Johnson Syndrome -- as a potential side effect. They also said that the drug should have had a general warning that the formation of rashes or blisters could indicate a potentially life-threatening condition.

In their appeal to the Massachusetts Supreme Court to overturn the jury award, J&J said that liability rests with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which rejected similar warning labels proposed by a citizens' petition. The Massachusetts Supreme Court disagreed, saying that the FDA may have approved the warnings if they had been proposed by J&J instead of a citizens' group.

In 2010, a Philadelphia jury awarded $10 million to the family of a 3-year-old girl who developed Stevens-Johnson Syndrome after taking Children's Motrin. That verdict was upheld by the state's Superior Court in 2014. In another ongoing case against J&J in Pennsylvania, the family of another 3-year-old girl claims that Children's Motrin caused their daughter to lose sight in one eye and more than 30% of her skin.

Showard Law Firm is Tucson's local law firm for defective drug and medical device claims.  If you believe you or a loved one have been harmed by a medication, contact us for a free consultation.

About the Author

Sarah Showard

Sarah Showard graduated from the University of Maryland in 1985, Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English-Linguistics and a Certification in Women's Studies. She then graduated from New York University School of Law in 1988. Sarah began practice initially as an insurance defense attorney, and has been representing plaintiffs since 1990. Sarah has a son, Benjamin, who recently graduated from The Gregory School and will attend ASU in the fall, with future plans to attend law school and eventually join Showard Law Firm. In her spare time Sarah enjoys horseback riding and spending time in Sonoita with her husband Peter.


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Showard Law Firm is dedicated to compassionate representation for our clients who have been injured by defective products, dangerous drugs or the negligence of any individual or company. We are experienced in litigation and ready to ensure you receive the maximum possible settlement for your injuries, medical bills, mental anguish and other losses.

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