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Polio Victim wins $22.5 million verdict against drug manufacture for failure to warn of risks for contamination

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A Staten Island man stricken with polio, Dominick Tenuto, was finally awarded $22.5 million in a suit against Lederle Laboratories, the maker of an oral polio vaccine that contained a live virus. The case had been in appeals litigation since the mid-1990s, with Lederle Laboratories trying at all costs to argue that it owed no duties to warn of potential contamination. Claims against the doctor were dismissed by New York’s appellate courts.

The man, a former Wall Street executive, contracted polio 30 years ago while changing his daughter’s diaper. His lawsuit alleged that he contracted the virus because she was taking the medication, and the live virus passed through her body and ultimately contaminated him.

Tenuto is now 61 years old and wheelchair-bound, decided to sue two years after he contracted polio and lost his job. The verdict is 30 years in coming, but the award amount is the highest recorded in Staten Island history. Lederle Laboratories plans to appeal.