The mother of an 11-year-old boy has agreed to settle her claims that bacteria-contaminated Children’s Tylenol killed her young son. The settlement came eight months after a trial in a California federal court resulted in a mistrial. It was claimed that McNeil, a Johnson & Johnson unit, knew the harmful bacteria Bacillus circulans was present in an ingredient used to make the batch of Children’s Tylenol that was given to Tyler Robertson shortly before he died of sepsis and bacterial pneumonia. The terms of the settlement are confidential and can’t be disclosed.
The suit was filed against McNeil in 2011 after the child died of sepsis caused by pneumonia several days after ingesting Children’s Tylenol from a batch included in a voluntary recall in September 2009. The bottle was tested for contamination and it was found to be positive for bacteria. There had been two previous trials involving the claims against McNeil, the most recent being in January.
Jurors told the judge after deliberating for a full day that they were deadlocked and couldn’t come to a unanimous decision. Judge Kronstadt told the lawyers – outside the jury’s presence – that he wasn’t sure if it would be productive to bring them back for another day.
McNeil had originally prevailed in the suit, when another jury in November 2014 found that the company wasn’t negligent in producing the children’s pain reliever. But in July 2015, the judge set aside the verdict and ordered a new trial, saying that a jury member who Googled information about recalls made it reasonably possible that the verdict was influenced. Judge Kronstadt said the juror’s admission that she looked up information about Tylenol recalls on Google one night at home during jury deliberations may have affected the outcome of the trial.
The Plaintiff is represented by Daniel K. Balaban and Andrew J. Spielberger of Balaban & Spielberger LLP, Robert P. Goe and Elizabeth Larocque of Goe & Forsythe LLP and Browne Greene of Greene Broillet & Wheeler LLP. The case is Peter Robertson et al. v. McNeil-PPC Inc. et al. in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
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