A U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania has ruled that the maker of Children’s Motrin may be liable for failing to warn of the risk of liver damage and a serious skin disorder. The court denied the Defendants’ motion for summary judgment. The Plaintiff in that case took Children’s Motrin in 1996 when she was nine years old. It was contended that, as a result of taking the over-the-counter pain reliever, she suffered liver damage that required a liver transplant and also developed Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, a serious skin disorder. Children’s Motrin is made by a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.
The Plaintiff sued Johnson & Johnson under various product liability theories. The pharmaceutical company argued that federal law preempted the Plaintiff’s failure- to-warn claim. The court disagreed, explaining that:
If the Plaintiff’s only complaint was that the label on the Children’s Motrin she ingested in 1996 did not include the words ‘Stevens-Johnson Syndrome’ or the letters ‘SJS,’ Defendants might have a more compelling preemption argument. … But the complaint goes beyond that to allege, inter alia, that Defendants failed to warn that ‘if a rash, blistering, and/or muscosal reaction developed, that Children’s Motrin should be stopped immediately and medical care should be sought.’ … [T]he FDA ultimately agreed in 2006 that a warning about such symptoms should be placed on Children’s Motrin, and recommended such a warning at that time.
The court further concluded that the Plaintiff’s evidence was sufficient to show that the lack of a better warning was the proximate cause of her injuries, and that Johnson & Johnson acted with “implied malice” for the purpose of pursuing punitive damages. But, the court ruled that the pharmaceutical company was not liable on the Plaintiff’s remaining claims, which included allegations of negligent failure to test and design defect.
Source: Lawyers USA Online
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