Members of Fort Worth, Texas-based Jensen Law Firm (www.stevensjohnsonsyndrome.org) are pleased to announce a $10 million verdict in compensatory damages against Johnson & Johnson’s McNeil Consumer Products (NYSE: JNJ) unit on behalf of 13-year-old Brianna Maya and her family. Brianna suffered disfiguring, life-altering skin burns and permanent blindness after she was given Children’s Motrin to treat a fever and cough in 2000. ( Alicia E. Maya, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., Case No. 002879, Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania)
When Brianna was 3 years old, she was given Children’s Motrin. Soon after, she developed a rash, skin lesions, eye infections, and lung damage. Her family didn’t know at the time that Children’s Motrin had been linked to Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN) and Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS), severe allergic reactions that can cause patients’ skin to burn off, leave patients blind and disfigured. Now 13, Brianna continues to experience the effects of taking the drug, including:
- blindness in one eye, corneal scarring in both eyes, and recurring eye infections
- ongoing eye surgeries needed to maintain vision
- permanent disfigurement to her face, eyelids, and body after 84 percent of her skin was burned when she initially took the medicine
- permanent lung damage, including a 50 percent loss of lung capacity with recurring lung infections and pneumonia
- brain damage and recurring seizures
- internal and external scarring resulting in permanent loss of reproductive system
Jurors deliberated for approximately 10 hours before holding J&J’s McNeil Consumer Products unit liable for Brianna’s injuries and awarded her $10 million. Her recoverable medical expenses were less than $2.5 million. The jury found that McNeil Consumer Products was negligent in failing to adequately warn about the risks of over-the-counter Children’s Motrin and that this negligence was a cause of Brianna’s injuries.
“Justice has been served,” said attorney Keith Jensen, founding partner of The Jensen Law Firm. “Drug companies must understand that if they fail to warn consumers about the known risks of their products, juries will hold them accountable. How many parents would buy Children’s Motrin if they were told, as J&J and McNeil admitted at trial, that Children’s Tylenol was safer and more effective than Children’s Motrin and does not cause SJS, TEN or resultant blindness, disfigurement or lung damage?”
Members of The Jensen Law Firm have handled similar cases in the past. In September 2010, Jensen obtained a $21 million verdict against Mutual Pharmaceutical on behalf of a client who suffered from TEN stemming from taking a different NSAID (not Ibuprofen/Motrin but sulindac). This remains the largest jury verdict in New Hampshire history. ( Karen L. Bartlett v. Mutual Pharmaceutical Company, Inc., Civil No. 08-358-JL, U.S. District Court, District of New Hampshire)
Johnson & Johnson is the world’s second-largest seller of medical products and recalled more than 40 consumer brands last year—including children’s versions of Tylenol, Motrin and St. Joseph Aspirin.