A jury in Boston awarded the Reckis family $63 million in damages on February 13, 2013.  The Reckis’ nightmare began over ten years ago when a then 7 year old Samantha suffered a life threatening severe allergic reaction to Motrin brand Ibuprofen, a medication manufactured by Johnson & Johnson.  It was the day after Thanksgiving 2003 when Samantha’s parents gave her Motrin to relieve a fever she had for several days.  She had taken Motrin before without any adverse side effects.  Sadly, this time was different and Samantha suffered horrific injuries resulting in a loss of 90 percent of her skin, brain damage, blindness, and diminished lung capacity.  It was later determined that Samantha had suffered a rare side effect known as toxic epidermal necrolysis.  Her condition was not easily diagnosed and she was put into a coma as her throat, eyes, mouth, esophagus, intestinal tract, respiratory system and reproductive systems became increasingly inflamed.

In 2007, the Reckis family filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary McNeil-PPC Inc., claiming it failed to warn consumers about these life threatening side effects and the medication packages were improperly labeled.  The Plymouth Superior Court jury agreed and ordered Johnson & Johnson and McNeil-PPC Inc. to pay Samantha and her family a total of $109 million for their damages.  In a similar 2011 case, a jury in Pennsylvania awarded $10 million to a girl who suffered an allergic reaction to Children’s Motrin, causing her to lose 84 percent of her skin, and suffer brain damage and blindness.

While acknowledging that its product can be associated with certain allergic reactions, Johnson & Johnson and McNeil-PPC Inc. defended its product and maintain it was labeled appropriately.  Johnson & Johnson and McNeil-PPC Inc. issued a statement stating it “disagreed with the verdict and was considering additional legal options.”  It is expected that Johnson & Johnson and McNeil-PPC Inc. will appeal the verdict.

Currently, Samantha is a 16 year old honor student.  Despite having to work twice as hard as her peers, her attorney stated she “doesn’t want to let her plight hold her down.”

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Filed under: Articles by Jennifer Crichton

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