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Family Wins $63M in Children's Motrin Lawsuit

By Andrew Lu | Last updated on

A Massachusetts family has been awarded $63 million from Johnson & Johnson after a young girl suffered severe side effects, including blindness, from taking Children's Motrin.

With interest, the family of Samantha Reckis stands to take in a total of $109 million as the injury happened a decade ago, reports The Associated Press.

At the time of the incident in 2003, Reckis was 7 years old. After she took Children's Motrin to relieve a fever, she suffered a side effect known as toxic epidermal necrolysis and lost 90% of her skin. The drug was also blamed for causing blindness.

Along with losing her skin and eyesight, the drug was also blamed for causing brain damage, requiring surgeons to drill a hole in the girl's skull. Reckis' lung capacity was reduced to 20%.

The family sued in 2007, arguing that Johnson & Johnson and its McNeil-PPC Inc. subsidiary failed to warn consumers that the drug could cause these life-threatening reactions, writes the AP.

The company has defended the lawsuit arguing that Children's Motrin was "labeled appropriately" and was safe when used as directed. The label apparently warned consumers to stop using the medication and immediately contact a healthcare professional if there was an allergic reaction.

Generally, in a product liability action, a manufacturer can be sued for defects in design, defects in the manufacturing process, or defects in printed warnings and instructions. When dealing with warning labels, courts can find a product defective simply because of an inaccurate, or inadequate, warning label.

Typically, the manufacturer must warn users of hidden dangers, and instruct users how to use a product in a way that will avoid those dangers.

Johnson & Johnson's lawyers say they may appeal the case, potentially bringing the question of whether its warning was adequate to a higher court.

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