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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 Womens Studies. She then graduated from New York University School of Law in 1988. Sarah began practice initially as an insurance defense attorne...

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