The first bellwether case in a multidistrict litigation against Johnson & Johnson subsidiary McNeill alleging the company’s Tylenol products caused severe liver damage has been set for June 22.
The lawsuit was filed by Rana Terry, administrator of her sister Denice Hayes’ estate, who claims her sister took Tylenol Extra Strength in August 2010, and followed the instructions on the medicine’s label. Later that month, Hayes went to the emergency room with severe liver damage and died a week later.
Terry alleges that Johnson & Johnson and McNeill knew acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, was unreasonably dangerous yet the companies failed to warn consumers of the risks. Terry’s lawsuit claims negligent design defect, breach of express warranty, and fraud.
Terry’s lawsuit is among 27 that were centralized in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in April 2013. Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries McNeill-PPC Inc. and McNeill Consumer Healthcare, as well as pharmaceutical manufacturers Perrigo Inc. and Novartis Corp., fought against centralization, arguing that the cases would all turn on facts that were specific to individual plaintiffs. However, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation in denying the request said “almost all injury litigation involves questions of causation that are case- and plaintiff-specific.”