The Federal Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit just handed down a decision affirming a verdict in favor of the plaintiff in a birth injury lawsuit stemming from the use of Topamax by pregnant women. According to one news source covering the case, the young plaintiff in the case was born with a cleft palate as well as a cleft lip after her mother took Topamax during the first trimester of pregnancy. The jury’s verdict was split; $1.5 million was designated to go to the parents to help pay for the future care of their child, and $1.5 million was designated to go to the young girl herself to help compensate her for her non-economic damages.
The Facts of the Case
Back in 2007, the plaintiff’s mother was taking Topamax for her migraine headaches. In December of that year, she learned that she was pregnant with the plaintiff. She discussed the use of Topamax with her doctor, and she was advised to taper off the use but not to stop taking the medication altogether.
When the plaintiff was born, she suffered from a cleft palate and a cleft lip. To this day, she has undergone 14 surgeries to help correct the injuries with which she was born. However, she still suffers from hearing loss and speech problems. Her parents told the court that she is teased and bullied by other children as a result of her appearance and speech.
The young girl, through her parents, filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of Topamax, Janssen Pharmaceuticals. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that the defendant knew about the potential for Topamax to cause birth defects, but it did not adequately warn prescribing physicians so that they could fully inform their patients.
The drug manufacturer claimed that it should not be held liable because it was not responsible for the drug’s categorization, and that even if the company wanted to change it, it could not change the warning level without approval from the Food and Drug Administration. The court found this argument unpersuasive and affirmed the verdict in favor of the plaintiff.
This case represents the third case brought by plaintiffs who claim that the use of Topamax during the first trimester of pregnancy resulted in birth defects, the possibility of which was not disclosed at the time of their being prescribed the medication.
Have You Suffered through a Birth Injury?
If you or a loved one has recently given birth to a child with a preventable birth injury, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. These cases often rely on complex scientific evidence, which is beyond the knowledge of most personal injury attorneys. It is very important that any potential plaintiff consult with a dedicated dangerous drug attorney who has experience in these specific matters and understands which types of experts may be necessary to help prove a plaintiff’s claim. At Cecere Santana, we have decades of experience handling birth injury, medical malpractice, and pharmacy error cases, and we know how to be successful on our clients’ behalf. Call 800-753-5529 today to set up your free consultation.
More Blog Posts:
Unexplained South Florida Accidents May Be the Result of Distracted Driving, Cecere Santana Injury Lawyers Blog, published May 3, 2016.
The Importance of Honesty and Diligence in the Pre-Trial Discovery Phase of a Personal Injury Lawsuit, Cecere Santana Injury Lawyers Blog, published April 25, 2016.