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Mass. Family Awarded $63M In Motrin Lawsuit

Family awarded $63M in Motrin lawsuit

A Massachusetts family has been awarded $63 million in a lawsuit again Johnson & Johnson.

Nearly a decade ago, Samantha Reckis had a life-threatening reaction to Motrin and lost 90 percent of her skin due to rare side effect known as toxic epidermal necrolysis. The then-7-year-old was also blinded and suffered brain damage that resulted in short-term memory loss.

Reckis family attorney Brad Henry said the reaction destroyed Samantha Reckis’ respiratory system, leaving her with just 20 percent lung capacity.

Samantha, who is now 16, had taken Motrin before without having any reactions. But the day after Thanksgiving in 2003, her parents gave her the drug to reduce a fever, quickly resulting in the necrolysis. Physicians were baffled and forced to put the 7-year-old into a coma as the disease attacked her throat, mouth, eyes, intestinal tract, esophagus, and respiratory and reproductive systems.

According to The Associated Press, the Reckis family filed the lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, McNeil-PPC, in January 2007, claiming that Samantha had been blinded by the popular ibuprofen brand. The family also alleged that Johnson & Johnson failed to warn consumers that the drug could cause life-threatening reactions.

After a five-week trial, a Plymouth Superior County jury awarded Samantha Reckis $50 million in compensatory damages. Her parents received $6.5 million each.

According to The Boston Globe, if the verdict is upheld by a trial judge, the amount, with interest, would ultimately total $109 million.

McNeil disagreed with the verdict and said it would consider other legal options. In a statement, the company said:

“The Reckis family has suffered a tragedy, and we sympathize deeply with them. A number of medicines, including ibuprofen, have been associated with allergic reactions and as noted on the label, consumers should stop using medications and immediately contact a healthcare professional if they have an allergic reaction.”

In 2011, Johnson & Johnson recalled 12 million bottles of Motrin after finding that “some caplets may not dissolve as quickly as intended when nearing their expiration date.” That same year, a Pennsylvania girl was awarded $10 million after she had an adverse reaction to Children’s Motrin, which caused her to lose 84 percent of her skin, go blind, and suffer brain damage.

Do you think the Reckis family should have received $63 million for what happened to Samantha?

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28 Responses to “Mass. Family Awarded $63M In Motrin Lawsuit”

  1. Franklin Miller

    Making the family rich is not going to make thier daughter well! A true tragic situation , but is it possible that the parents did NOT read the warning label or the directions clearly? Just a thought!

  2. Jordan Thomas

    Yes, you're absolutely right, they just missed that bullet on the possible side effects list that said 'full body disintegration'. And its not like they have a severally injured child whose LIFE LONG medical care will cost millions (maybe even tens of millions) of dollars, so paying them money in a lawsuit would just '[make] them rich' right? Ohh wait….

  3. Anonymous

    Award will never hold up on appeal. Juries are for the most part stoopid and should not be allowed even in criminal cases. A panel of judges should decide cases.

  4. Beth King

    About ten years ago I lost my grandson due to a combinaton of this drug and another for acid reflux prescribed by a physician. I lost my grandson and was told that the side affects were noted. They weren't! Only thing my family could do was to warn as many family members to not give this to their children even if a doctor told them it was okay. I am sadden that this family suffered too but am happy that they have been able to prove what we could not. God bless Ian, Grandma still thinks of you often.

  5. Letha Koenighaus

    No. There are risks with every drug. I've taken Tyenol for 40 years and had a reaction to their 8 hour pills. Should I have sued? No. I made the choice to buy the product that I've known and trusted for years; but my body suddenly didn't like the product. That's not the manufacture's fault.

  6. Letha Koenighaus

    No, they shouldn't be able to sue. I've taken Tylenol for for 30+ years and suddenly had an allergic reaction to one of their pain pills. That's not their fault. You buy products with the full knowledge that there might be side effects.

  7. Rashida Murphy

    They deserve it and more… their daughter will require a lifetime of care. The company was in the wrong. They are pathetic.

  8. John Mak

    What ridiculous judgement. How is Johnson and Johnson responsible for her rare condition? Of ocurse they clowns on the jury see a heartless corporation and a poor victim and awards the family this crazy amount. But hese costs are passed on to everyone else.

  9. Rebecca Peppers

    Jordan Thomas You are correct in that the parents are probably deep in debt for medical bills and can use this money for future medical costs. It will also take a lot of money to give this child some assemblance of quality of life. They deserve this money more than a CEO with a million (or millions) dollar salary.

  10. Leslie Martinez

    Wow, were putting man made chemicals in to our bodies and think there is NO POSSIBLE way I may have a an adverse reaction to because, hey I am just like every other person out there who has taken it with out side effects.

    Very tragic, but please…

  11. James Johnson

    All medicines should be USE AT YOUR OWN RISK.. I medical company cannot and should not be held accountible for all reactions.

  12. Thad Henson

    That family did not get near enough money. Medical bills will go on for the rest of that girls life. The labels on Motrin do not say anything about that type of adverse reaction. Look it up before making a dumb comment.

  13. Thad Henson

    LM, the point is that drugs are not suppose to disable you for the rest of your life. They are suppose to make you get better not almost kill you. Eating food you bought from the store have risks as well. So you are telling me if you get E. Coli that you understood the risks associated with food and there is no need for that company to pay for your medical bills or pain and suffering?

  14. BlackLabelled

    Ridiculous. And people wonder why medication cost are insane. When are people going to realize that whatever you decide to put in your bodies or your childrens bodies is your responsibility. This is why there is an FDA. To help decide whether a product is safe. If 2 kids have a reaction and 2 million kids don't, it is not the maker of the products fault. If anything, they should sue the FDA for approving the medication and for not catching the 2 out of 2 million people that may have a side effect from it. I am not downplaying this incident as this poor girl has been through trauma and will need medical care for the rest of her life, but I don't think that a company that did everything by the book should be held accountable. Bottom line, there is no safe substance on earth, none. point at something and I can find someone that will have a reaction to it including water and pure oxygen. The money is going to help, no doubt. It is just where the money is coming from that can be, and will be debated for accountability. Either way, I wish this girl and her family the best of luck. Just a personal opinion.

  15. Tiffany Ritchie

    I believe that the parents could have given her something with the children's motion. but the article did say this happened to another girl in Pennsylvania, so I don't know O.o.

  16. Blake Copeland

    Any drug can illicit almost any side effect you can imagine. Some are just more prone to happen than others at a given dose. This is an example of a very rare presentation of a relatively common side effect, allergic reaction. When a drug has allergic reaction listed as a side effect, this is one of the ways (however rare) that it can manifest itself. I do not believe that the family was entitled to any of the money they received based upon the information presented in this article. Allergic reaction was on the warning label, and that is exactly what she had.

  17. Cynthia Snyder

    I suppose the family should be compensated to some extent, but these multi-million dollar lawsuits are outrageous. I hope this amount is greatly reduced. Anyone can have a reaction to anything, and it isn't necessarily someone else's fault. These high damages are one of the reasons drug prices and insurance are so high.

  18. Anonymous

    I sympathize with the family. But I do believe that the courts are very wrong in their judgement.

  19. Jorge Silva

    for Johnson and Johnson 63 millions is a penny on a bucket and destroy a family but know they know that some caplets may not dissolve that is the price of the mistake.

  20. Anonymous

    Just last year another lawsuit was won by another family and they get just 10 mil? Something is wrong with that jury. Now since there has been precedent of only 10 mil the family will spend the next 10 years in appeals. After which they will get only 10 mil. Yes the medical bills add up but not to 63 mil, maybe 20 but to award the parents 6.5 mil a piece too?

  21. Nikki L. Shelton

    And just because someone has a ton of money does not make it right to come up with a way to take it from them. They put the warning on the label for a reason. It is the parents' responsibility to make sure they know everything about what they are giving their children and I mean EVERYTHING. It is not the company's responsibility to pay out money every time someone has a reaction to their medicine when they have done their due diligence on the possible harms and risks and warned ppl that it is possible to have a life threatening adverse reaction to the medication.

    ALL medications have that warning on them. Just because they do not have every possible type of reaction listed again does not make the company responsible. Every person is different in how they react to something and literally you would get a book the size of the Obamacare law with every pill bottle on the market if they were to list all possible side-effects. Instead they say, "Consult your doctor who knows you and your medical history before taking this medication." Pretty wise and thoughtful advice there don't you think? This company DID put the warning on the label and they did not try to hide any facts or results saying this happens so often to ppl but we are going to put it out on the market anyway.

    I am truly very sorry that this happened to them. I never wish ill will on someone even when it is their own actions that caused the problem but based on the information given in this article and others I have read about this story, the responsibility is totally on the parents for giving their child this medication. The odds of this type of a reaction are very rare or the medicine would not be an OTC medicine. Unfortunately their child was one of the few. As parents we constantly have to weigh the harm vs. the benefits. You have to ask yourself constantly, "Is this method worth losing my child over?" and "Is there a less risk alternative?" You are responsible for a life, it is an extremely heavy responsibility at times but it is nonetheless YOUR responsibility so you had bettered educate yourself on what you are doing before you do it or you run into situations like this. It is in no way the company's fault that they chose to gamble and lost.

    This is one of the major reasons healthcare and medicine is so ungodly expensive. Because of irresponsible lawsuits like this one.

  22. Nikki L. Shelton

    When you buy products from a store or manufacturer that you have not researched and know exactly how things are made, packaged and distributed then you take on the risk that it can be harmful. No matter what that product is, whether it is a tomato or an anti-depressant. If the company is blatantly breaking the law to produce their goods and sell them on the market then yes it is the company's fault. If the company is following the law, doing their best to make sure that their product is made the best way possible and they have told you of the potential risks even if they do every thing correctly on their end. It is then your personal responsibility to decide if you want to take that risk. If you buy produce from a grocery store and the farmers have done every thing in their power to make sure the product is packaged properly when it leaves their facility and then you buy it in the store only to have an allergic reaction to it then the responsibility is on you. Not them. You decided to ingest something knowing there could be a possible risk. The company does not force you to put their product in your body, you made that decision. If you are walking around in the world thinking that everyone else is going to make sure you are safe and secure without having to do your own part in keeping yourself educated and safe then you are the one being irresponsible. Not them.

  23. Melissa Morgan O'Donnell

    These costs are passed onto everyone else. Its a shame they don't come directly out of the pocket of the bigshot CEO's and VP's who approved it. They knew there were risks. They didn't CLEARLY state the risks because they don't want to scare people away from their magic pills, needles, and potions. They made a CALCULATED gamble and lost……bigtime.

  24. Anonymous

    They decision was absolutely right. If possible side effects were listed as "eating away massive amounts of skin, blindness, etc. in rare cases", then that would be different. These health care giants must be forced into full disclosure (in layman's terms) on their labels. Then if I decide to still give it to me or my children, the burden falls on me. At least I can make an educated, informed decision. Thank you.

  25. Anonymous

    I will now start feeding my children Childrens Motrin morning, day, and night! Maybe little Timmy can finally contribute to his parents retirement plan.

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