$21 Million Verdict Upheld in Stevens Johnson Syndrome Lawsuit
A federal appeals court has affirmed a $ 21 million verdict awarded to a woman who developed Stevens Johnson Syndrome after taking a prescription medication for pain.
According to Reuters, the First U.S. Circuit of Appeals chose to uphold the verdict after ruling that generic drug manufacturers cannot use federal law to avoid personal injury claims stemming from alleged flaws in the product’s design. A jury had previously awarded New Hampshire resident Karen Bartlett $21 million for injuries she sustained when she developed Stevens Johnson Syndrome after taking Clinoril, a generic drug used to treat shoulder pain. Ms. Bartlett reportedly suffered burns on two-thirds of her body and permanent vision impairment.
After she recovered, Ms. Bartlett sued Mutual Pharmaceutical Co., the maker of the drug under New Hampshire state law. In their appeal of the jury verdict, attorneys for mutual argued that federal law barred her injury claim since the drug had been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The appeals court disagreed, ruling that the jury’s decision to award damages after concluding that the drug was unreasonably dangerous was appropriate.
Clinoril is just one of several drugs that have been linked to the potentially life-threatening skin condition known as Stevens Johnson Syndrome (SJS). Other drugs that have been linked to SJS include the epilepsy drug Dilantin; Lamictal, which is also used to control seizures; and over-the-counter drugs such as Children’s Motrin. While the exact cause of Stevens Johnson Syndrome is unknown, it’s believed that the condition is triggered by an allergic reaction to one or more components of certain drugs.
Patients who develop Stevens Johnson Syndrome typically experience non-specific symptoms, including fever, headaches, chills and body aches. After a period of days or weeks, a reddish or purplish rash will begin to develop which may be accompanied by the formation of blisters or pustules. As SJS progresses, the top layer of skin may begin to slough away, leaving the victim with a burned appearance. Patients who develop Stevens Johnson Syndrome typically require treatment in a burn unit in order to fully recover and the condition is fatal in approximately 15% of all cases. Stevens Johnson Syndrome can have long-lasting health effects, including vision loss, scarring, disfigurement and organ damage. In some cases, patients may develop a related condition known as Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN), which is similar to SJS but carries a much higher fatality rate.
Individuals who develop Stevens Johnson Syndrome or TEN after taking Dilantin, Lamictal or other drugs may be entitled to seek compensation for their injuries. It’s important that you speak with an experienced Stevens Johnson Syndrome attorney to discuss your legal rights.
Nadrich & Cohen, LLP specializes in representing Stevens Johnson Syndrome injury victims. For more information on filing a Stevens Johnson Syndrome lawsuit, call 1-800-718-4658 to begin your free initial case evaluation. There is never a fee unless damages are recovered on your behalf.