The Pennsylvania Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal by Johnson & Johnson unit McNeil-PPC Inc., of a $10 million verdict levied against the company by the family of a girl who suffered a serious allergic reaction and blindness after taking Children’s Motrin as prescribed for fever.
McNeil had petitioned the state high court to hear the case after its bid for appeal was rejected by the Pennsylvania Superior Court panel last September. The panel supported the lower court’s decision in July, which found the consumer health care company failed to warn that its over-the-counter medicine could cause the serious allergic reaction suffered by Brianna Maya, who was 3 at the time she suffered injuries after taking the dug.
McNeil pulled a variety of issues out of its hat in hopes of an appeal, and a second chance at skirting any responsibility in the girl’s injuries, including accusing plaintiff’s attorneys of trying t0 pull jurors’ heartstrings by portraying the trial as a “David and Goliath” battle. In the end, however, the Pennsylvania justices were not swayed.
Brianna Maya’s mother gave her then-3-year-old daughter Children’s Motrin for four days in 2000 to treat fever and cough. The girl developed a rash that blistered over, resembling a serious burn. She was admitted to a hospital in Tennessee and later transferred to a special burn unit in Texas. The burns covered nearly 84 percent of her body. She was later diagnosed with toxic epidermal necrolysis, or TEN, a severe form of Stevens Johnson Syndrome, or SJS, an allergic reaction to medication. The disease can attack the mucous membranes and cause permanent damage. In Maya’s case, the rashes invaded her eyes and left her blind. Maya is now 17.
Maya’s mother sued McNeill in the Court of Common Pleas in 2009, claiming she would have never used Children’s Motrin had she been warned that using the medication would have left her daughter with debilitating and permanent injuries. After a nine-week trial, a jury slapped McNeil with a $10 million verdict.
Source: Law 360