Jury orders J&J to pay $10M in Motrin injury case

A Philadelphia jury levied a $10 million judgment against Johnson & Johnson in a liability lawsuit over its Motrin fever and pain reliever. After deliberating for 10 hours, the jury decided to hold J&J liable for the severe injuries of a 13-year-old girl who developed a reaction after taking Children's Motrin when she was three years old.

As Bloomberg reports, the issues in this trial were whether the J&J drug caused Brianna Maya's Stevens-Johnson Syndrome--and whether the company had adequately warned consumers about the risk of that reaction. Maya developed burns over 84 percent of her body and was left blind in one eye after taking the drug in 2000; the companies later warned that Motrin's active ingredient could cause "a severe allergic reaction."

The Philadelphia jury panel found that McNeil was negligent for failing to properly warn about Children's Motrin's risks, saying that the failure was "a factual cause" of Maya's injuries, Bloomberg says. But the jury rejected the idea that the drug was defectively designed. It also refused to award punitive damages.

"J&J and McNeil will be called to task" for failing to warn parents, Maya's attorney Keith Jensen told the news service. For its part, a spokesman for J&J's McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit said the company "strongly disagrees with today's verdict and we are considering our legal options." 

- read the Bloomberg story