Many Americans turn to over-the-counter pain relievers when plagued with dull aches, pains and headaches. One of the most popular pain reliever brands is the Johnson & Johnson product Motrin. Alarmingly, Motrin has been attributed to more than just the temporary alleviation of minor soreness and has been linked with a horrific disease known as Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis- a disease that causes the inner layers of the skin to die from the inside out.
A Honduran plaintiff filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson in 2009 and the trial began last week in Los Angeles Superior Court. Extensive delays were caused as parties were conflicted over whether the pursuit of punitive damages is appropriate. According to court papers, the plaintiff suffered severe and chronic injuries from the disease which is a more severe version of the hotly-litigated Stevens Johnson Syndrome.
Lawyers for the plaintiff contend in their filings that the side effects of Motrin include substantial skin reactions in the form of blisters, rashes and burns causing the skin to actually separate from the body. Victims must be treated by experienced Burn Unit physicians and the condition is often fatal.
In this case, the plaintiff survived the disease despite claiming to have contracted the symptoms at age 15 and survived to the present day. The plaintiff was hospitalized for days, suffered internal organ defects and problems with vision.
As with most consumer lawsuits, the plaintiff alleges that Johnson & Johnson failed to meet its duty to warn consumers of the significant risk of the condition. In addition, the lawsuit centers around whether Johnson & Johnson misrepresented findings to the FDA and did not reveal the entire truth about the risk of Toxic Epidermal Necrolypsy and Stevens Johnson Syndrome.
These warnings are placed on Motrin packages in other countries but not in the United States.