The Pennsylvania Superior Court has upheld a $10 million verdict returned against McNeil-PPC Inc., a Johnson & Johnson unit, in a case brought on behalf of a little girl who suffered skin burns and blindness after taking Children’s Motrin to treat a fever and cough. A three-judge panel rejected arguments by McNeil that there was no evidence that an omission on the warning label of the over-the-counter drug had led to the injuries suffered by Brianna Maya, who was 3 years old at the time of the illness.
In 2000, after the child came down with a fever, Maya’s mother gave her Children’s Motrin for four days. After first exhibiting a rash on her body that then led to blisters, the child was admitted to a Tennessee hospital and then transferred to a Texas burn unit. Maya was diagnosed with burns over about 84.5 percent of her body. She was later diagnosed with the disease toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), an especially severe form of Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS). Treating doctors testified that Maya had suffered severe eye damages as a result of TEN. Keith Jensen, a lawyer with Jensen & Associates, who represented Maya’s mother in this case, said in an interview:
Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary McNeil did not challenge in its appeal that Motrin causes SJS and TEN, or that Motrin caused now 17-year-old Brianna Maya’s TEN and resultant blindness.
Maya’s mother had filed the suit against McNeil in the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia County in 2009. She said she would never have used over-the-counter Children’s Motrin had the package used the word “blisters” on the warning label. Judge Ford Elliott said in the court’s opinion:
Therefore, there was testimony that an adequate warning would have prevented Brianna from receiving the last four or five doses of Children’s Motrin.
The Plaintiff is represented by Howard Bashman, Scott David Levensten of the Levensten Law Firm PC and Keith Jensen of Jensen & Associates PLLC. They have done a very good job for Maya and her mother in this important case.
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