The parents of a teenage girl were awarded $63 million in court on Wednesday this week nearly a decade after the girl suffered a severe allergic reaction to Motrin and lost most of her skin. Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary McNeil PPC Inc. will pay Samantha Reckis $50 million in compensatory damages and her parents each $6.5 million.
Samantha was given Motrin ibuprofen when she was 7 years old. She suffered a rare side effect known as toxic epidermal necrolysis, which left her blinded, brain damaged, and with low respiratory capacity. She also lost about 90% of her skin. Doctors had to drill into her skull to relieve pressure, but thankfully her brain damage resulted in short-term memory loss in the long-term rather than more severe damage. Her family filed a lawsuit in 2007, alleging that Samantha was blinded by Motrin and that the company failed to adequately warn consumers about possible life-threatening reactions.
According to court testimony, Samantha's parents gave her Motrin in 2003, the day after Thanksgiving for a fever. The resulting effect–toxic epidermal necrolysis–is a potentially fatal skin disease that inflames the mucus membranes and includes a rash that burns off the top layer of skin. In Samantha's case, it inflammed her throat, mouth, eyes, esophagus, intestinal tract, respiratory system and reproductive system and doctors had to put her in a coma. Johnson & Johnson says that it disagrees with the jury verdict and says that it is considering additional legal options.
recently named in the 2009 edition of Best Lawyer's In America, David Mittleman has been representing seriously injured people since 1985. A partner with Church Wyble PC—a division of Grewal Law PLLC—Mr. Mittleman and his partners focus on medical malpractice, wrongful death, car accidents, slip and falls, nursing home injury, pharmacy/pharmacist negligence and disability claims.