Family wins $63M lawsuit vs. Johnson and Johnson
PLYMOUTH, Mass. (WHDH) -- A Massachusetts family won a $63 million lawsuit against Johnson and Johnson after a few doses of Children’s Motrin put their daughter in the hospital.
On Wednesday, a Plymouth jury sided with Samantha Reckis’ family and attorney Brad Henry saying the manufacturer, a subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson, did not do enough to warn the consumer about possible life-threatening risks of taking Motrin. The lawsuit was filed six years ago.
“A drug company that’s going to sell billions of doses of this product has an obligation to warn people,” said Henry.
In 2003, when Samantha was 7 years old, she had a severe reaction to Children’s Motrin and was diagnosed with toxic epidermal necrolysis, a potentially fatal skin disease. Samantha spent six months in the hospital and left weighing only 33 pounds. She suffered liver, kidney, GI and reproductive damage.
“When they finally were able to wean her off pain medications and take out the ventilation, within a couple of weeks she had a stroke because of the liver damage. They had to drill through her head to relieve the pressure,” said Henry.
The firm representing Johnson and Johnson argues the bottle’s warning is labeled appropriately and is a safe and effective treatment option for pains and fever.
The condition is extremely rare, affecting one in 1 million people, but Henry says just because it’s uncommon doesn’t mean the company shouldn’t warn against possible reactions.
“All we’re saying is that if parents are in a position to give a discretionary drug to their child, they should at least be given the option to know whether this is a good idea or not,” said Henry.
It has only been since 2005 that the FDA required the warning label to include skin reddening, rash and blisters, which are symptoms to the reaction Samantha had in 2003.
If the ruling is upheld and Johnson and Johnson loses its appeal, the Reckis family could see more than $100 million after interest is added on to the original settlement.