Philadelphia Jury Awards $3 Million in Topamax Birth Defect Trial

Matthews & Associates says manufacturer ignored red flags about drug's dangers

PHILADELPHIA, March 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- A Houston-based plaintiffs firm specializing in drug injury law, Matthews & Associates, won a $3 million jury verdict in Philadelphia district court on March 7 for the family of a 5-year-old girl who suffered a severe cleft lip and cleft palate as a result of Topamax.

After three weeks of testimony and four days of deliberation, 12 jurors found that drug maker Janssen Pharmaceuticals – a division of Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) – failed to warn Kelly Anderson's doctors about the birth defect risks among pregnant Topamax users. Jurors found Topamax was a substantial factor in birth defects suffered by Ms. Anderson's daughter, who has endured 14 procedures, including four surgeries.

Ms. Anderson's primary doctor and her neurologist testified they would have ordered her to stop taking Topamax for migraines if the drug had included proper warnings. Her attorney David Matthews reminded jurors in closing arguments how evidence had shown Janssen ignored numerous red flags before finally updating Topamax's warning label in 2011, only after the FDA required the company to do so. Ms. Anderson's daughter was born three years before the updated warning.

In addition to migraine treatment, Topamax is commonly prescribed as an anti-seizure medication. Citing annual Topamax sales of more than $2 billion, Mr. Matthews argued that profit was the motivation behind Janssen's label change delay.

"This is justice for Kelly Anderson and her little girl," said Mr. Matthews. "We proved J&J knew the risks of Topamax but failed to warn her doctors. We're grateful the jury saw through J&J's smoke-and-mirrors defense."

The case is Anderson v Janssen Pharmaceuticals in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County First Judicial District. The award marks the third verdict against Janssen over Topamax. In addition to Mr. Matthews and a Matthews & Associates trial team, plaintiffs' counsel included Tim Goss of Freese & Goss; Dennis Sweet of Sweet & Associates; Rose Pinto of Feldman & Pinto; and attorneys from Simmons Browder Gianaris Angelides & Barnerd.

With offices in Houston and New York, Matthews & Associates specializes in representing people hurt by dangerous drugs and medical devices. Firm attorneys work nationwide and in Puerto Rico. The firm can be found on the web at

For information, contact Mark Annick at 800-559-4534 or [email protected].

SOURCE Matthews & Associates