Baby Formula Lawsuit
Every parent of a newborn will see the brands Similac or Enfamil put in front of them repeatedly and with good reason. These companies make a ton of money on these products. However, bovine milk formula can be dangerous for some preterm babies.
Very premature infants should not be given cow milk-based products. Studies have shown that they are at a far higher risk of developing necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a dangerous and life-threatening intestinal infection.
If your child has been injured or developed NEC after being given Enfamil infant formula, you may be entitled to file a baby formula lawsuit against the manufacturer. Call our personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC for a free case evaluation.
Premature infants (before 37 full weeks) fed bovine-based baby formula, such as Similac (or Enfamil baby formula), are more likely to contract the bowel disease necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).
Similac and Enfamil Formula Practically Control the Baby Formula Market
Parents often associate the product with the two dominant formula manufacturers. Both Similac and Enfamil control about 40% of the market for infant formula in the United States. Abbott and Mead Johnson make Enfamil.
This company was sold to a British firm in 2017 for $16.6 billion, showing exactly how valuable the product is.
Similac and Enfamil makers start early, providing parents with free samples when the mother is pregnant and convincing them that infant formulas will make their lives far easier.
Cow Milk-Based Formulas
The exact cause of NEC is uncertain, but several scientific and clinical studies link cow's milk-based infant formulas, such as Similac and Enfamil, to an increased chance of a premature infant developing NEC.
The first study indicating a link between cow milk formulas and NEC was published in The Lancet in 1990, finding that formula-fed infants were ten times more likely to acquire the disease.
Studies indicate that bovine-based milk formulas cause the intestines of infants to become inflamed and produce too much bacteria, leading to NEC.
The product is still deemed safe for healthy full-term infants. However, it only takes one bad batch of the formula or contamination from a manufacturer worker who may have had an infection that can lead to serious consequences for your child.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), breastfeeding is preferred. However, if that is not possible, feed bovine-based formulas to premature infants instead of soy milk-based products.
Lack of Warning Label
The problem is that the Mead Johnson company does not provide any warning label on their Enfamil product packaging. The manufacturer claims that the warning would be confusing and cause parents to stop buying Enfamil.
The FDA's website states that premature infants should not consume cow milk-based formula. However, it is easy for parents of infants to miss this warning if they purchase Enfamil at their local store and trust the company, seeing as the product does not have a specific warning label.
Nutritional Issues When a Baby Is Born Prematurely
Premature babies desperately need nutrition after they are born to help their bodies grow and mature. However, this is not always easy. While needing food from their mother, babies may not have the physical strength to suck the milk from the breast.
Nonetheless, nutrition is one of their most critical needs. Therefore, it becomes a challenge to get them the necessary nutrients.
What Baby Formula Manufacturers Are Facing Civil Suits?
Enfamil, a baby formula with human milk fortifiers made by Mead Johnson, is the subject of a civil suit in Alabama. The lawsuit was filed by the mother of a baby who developed brain damage after being fed Enfamil with iron.
Similac Advance, a baby formula made by Abbott Laboratories, is also the subject of a civil suit. In 2015, the baby's mother filed a necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) formula lawsuit, who developed brain damage after being fed Enfamil with iron.
The mother's attorneys built the case using evidence-based feeding strategies involving problems with Enfamil and Similac.
Enfamil and Similac Class Action Lawsuit
There is not yet an MDL (Multidistrict Litigation) or class-action lawsuit involving NEC infant formula with Abbott Laboratories or Mead Johnson. Many Enfamil and Similac formulas have class actions involving similar products filed in Canada in 2019.
The plaintiffs allege that the companies marketed and sold baby formulas containing DHA and ARA, despite knowing that these ingredients were not safe for infants.
Mother's Breast Milk Is Safer
In general, the nutritional content in mother's milk is the best for a premature baby. Human milk has important fat that helps develop a baby's brain and neurological tissue. It is also easier for a baby to digest liquid protein-fortified human milk.
Equally as important, feeding the baby only human breast milk is safer than formula feeding. For premature babies, the problem is that their intestinal lining is immature.
When the tissue is exposed to cow's milk proteins, there is a risk of damage to the intestinal wall. Babies do not have a mature digestive system, and they may have a harder time digesting cow's milk.
NEC in premature infants fed cow's milk-based formula is more likely to occur than in those consuming their mother's breast milk.
Scientific Evidence of the Danger of Cow's Milk-Based Formulas
Numerous research studies have quantified the higher risk of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) when the premature baby has been fed formula. These studies have compared the rates of premature babies not fed Similac or Enfamil and those fed the product.
Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is usually a very rare condition. The normal rate of this infection is one in every 1,000 babies born prematurely. The rate will significantly increase when the babies receive cow-based infant formula products. Those fed Enfamil are more likely to have developed NEC.
Here are some of the disturbing numbers that reveal the problem that cow's milk-based Enfamil products can cause:
- One study found that 21% of babies with low birth weights fed with cow-based formulas developed necrotizing enterocolitis instead of 3% of these babies fed with human breast milk.
- Another randomized study found that 17% of premature babies fed cow's milk-based formula contracted NEC, compared to 5% of infants fed human milk.
- Children who develop necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) are usually those with premature birth, which can also be a symptom of fetal growth restriction.
According to research, the baby's failure to gain weight might indicate NEC, an illness that generally occurs within two to six weeks post-delivery (premature baby).
No matter the research study or the methodology used, it is undeniable not to feed a baby cow milk-based baby formula.
The Dangers of Necrotizing Enterocolitis in Premature Infants
This bacterial infection will kill parts of the intestine through “necrotizing,” used when something dies. The condition could lead to the baby losing part of their intestines when a hole allows bacteria to enter.
Infections are dangerous and life-threatening. Eventually, the harmful bacteria can enter the abdominal cavity. Here, the damages can stay with a baby for the rest of their life, as they could have permanent digestive issues.
Premature Babies Should Not Use Cow Based Formula
In 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics, recognizing the increased risk of necrotizing enterocolitis, recommended that premature infants only be given human-based milk products in light of the dangers to their digestive system.
This recommendation helped lay the groundwork for the medical malpractice lawsuits against the doctors who gave cow-based products to premature babies.
How Enfamil Causes Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC)
NEC is a gastrointestinal bacterial infection that could permanently damage the baby's stomach and digestion. The problem with Enfamil and other cow-milk-based products is that they can damage the intestinal lining and make it inflamed.
Eventually, this can lead to deadened intestines and holes. Harmful bacteria will then come through the holes in the intestine and go into the abdominal cavity, causing a life-threatening infection. Emergency surgery is necessary to save the baby's life in some cases.
The NEC Risks of These Toxic Baby Formula Products for Preterm Infants
NEC is a serious condition that could have long-term health risks for preterm babies. Statistics show that roughly 30% of infants who develop NEC, necrotizing enterocolitis, die from the illness.
As a result, NEC will require significant time in the neonatal intensive care unit. In addition, doctors may need to perform emergency surgery to remove the deadened part of the intestine.
Alternatives to These Infant Formulas
Human breast milk is what is the healthiest for a premature baby. Breast milk has a compound in it that helps it fight harmful bacteria. Researchers and doctors recommend that a premature infant receives pumped mother's milk or breast milk from a human donor.
Enfamil human milk fortifier, Similac human milk fortifier, and other fortified products do not just include cow's milk infant formula.
However, doctors and hospitals have often given Similac or Enfamil to premature infants despite a growing scientific consensus on the increased risk of NEC.
If hospitals and doctors need to use products from these companies, they should be using things like the Enfamil to help with the baby's nutritional needs.
Grounds for Infant Formula Lawsuits
Here are some of the grounds in the NEC infant formula lawsuits that have been filed against the makers of baby formulas:
- Enfamil was defectively designed because the makers could have used fortified human breast milk instead of cow's milk. However, there was a reasonable alternative design that was less dangerous.
The manufacturer is aware of an alternative design. Still, it uses cow's milk despite the dangers.
- The cow's milk-based baby formula makers should have warned the public of the dangers of its product. Instead, they either knew or should have known that their Enfamil baby formula was dangerous, and they did nothing.
The defendants spend massive amounts of money advertising their products (over $5 billion each year) but never mention the risk of NEC.
There are cow milk infant formula products made by other companies marketed to preterm babies who do not consume cow's milk. Therefore, it is possible to design a safer product for premature babies that would not compromise their health.
Infant Formula Lawsuits
Parents of premature infants have filed lawsuits against Mead Johnson and Abbott Laboratories. In 2015, a federal jury in Philadelphia awarded $12 million to Robert Coyle. He developed NEC after being fed cow's milk-based baby formula with the Similac human milk fortifier while still in the hospital.
However, the manufacturers have not offered to pay the victims' amounts. The companies only make a small percentage of money on Similac and Enfamil baby formula, but they continue to prove that they do not place any value on infants' lives.
Mead Johnson is also facing another trial over their Enfamil human milk fortified product in Alabama. The case was filed by the mother of a child who developed brain damage after being fed Enfamil with Iron.
Our law firm has helped countless families seek compensation for harm caused by dangerous drugs and defective products, including infant formula.
Contact our attorneys today if your child became seriously ill or injured from NEC or another disease resulting from a contaminated Similac or Enfamil product.
Damages in Toxic Baby Formula Lawsuits
Families have a legal entitlement to file Similac baby formula lawsuits after being harmed by Enfamil or human milk fortified products. Their claims include damages for harm to the baby and what the family has suffered.
Here is some of what a family can recover from in a baby formula NEC lawsuit against the manufacturers:
- Medical costs: Families can receive money for past and present medical bills associated with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). However, the cost of an emergency procedure to remove the intestine can be prohibitive. In addition, premature babies may need follow-up surgeries as they get older.
- Pain and suffering: Often, a large part of an NEC baby formula lawsuit is damages. The baby can experience significant discomfort from the infection.
- Lost wages: a family can be paid for the money foregone by missing work to take care of their baby.
- Wrongful death damages: Nearly one out of every three preterm babies who develop NEC will die from the condition. When that happens, the family can receive wrongful death damages to compensate for their loss.
In addition, the baby's estate (yes, premature infants do have an estate) can file a survival action to recover for what the baby went through before they died.
Mead Johnson Company Did Not Warn Doctors or Warn Consumers
CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) research as far back as the early 1990s documented that babies fed with cow milk-based formulas could develop NEC. The risks of NEC in premature infants are very profound for preterm infants (low birth weight infants).
With that being the case, the makers of Enfamil products would have had an obligation to learn more about their product and its dangers and warn the public of the risks of necrotizing enterocolitis from Enfamil baby formulas.
Instead, however, the manufacturer did absolutely nothing, even as influential medical groups alerted the public.
NEC Baby Formula Lawsuits Have Been Filed for Defective Similac and Enfamil Formulas
Many of the NEC baby injury lawsuits previously filed for Enfamil infant formula injuries were against the doctor who prescribed the formula. In addition, families won several major medical malpractice verdicts and settled several other cases.
Now, parents of injured babies are focusing on the Abbott and Mead Johnson companies that make the cow's milk-based formula (Similac and Enfamil). Instead of filing medical malpractice cases, parents are now filing product liability lawsuits for toxic baby formula.
There are a growing number of these cases. We expect there will eventually be enough NEC baby formula lawsuits to consolidate these cases into Multidistrict litigation. However, it takes time for mass tort cases to reach this point.
In a case decided in July 2014, a federal judge ruled that a baby formula NEC lawsuit against Abbott Laboratories could move forward. The baby formula lawsuit alleged that Parexel did not adequately warn the parents of the infant being born with “potentially fatal” health problems from being fed Similac Advance formula.
Parents Have Also Filed NEC Lawsuits Against Doctors
Parents sued doctors for medical malpractice before filing claims against companies like Abbott Laboratories and Mead Johnson Company.
As a result, doctors should have known before recommending Enfamil or liquid Similac baby formula to premature babies. The product was dangerous and had a higher risk of causing infection.
Parents prevailed in several baby formula lawsuits against doctors.
In one baby formula lawsuit, a New York jury awarded a family $5 million for pain and suffering damage when a baby developed NEC after using cow-milk formula.
$23 Million Toxic Baby Formula NEC Lawsuit Award
In September of 2012, a jury in Texas awarded $23 million to the family of a baby who passed away after developing NEC (necrotizing enterocolitis). The baby was born at 25 weeks and weighed only 1 pound 12 ounces at birth. The nursing staff intubated the infant and fed him Similac Advance formula.
The jury found on behalf of the injured party and awarded them $23 million.
As a result of the litigation brought by the parents of children injured or killed by NEC, Abbott Laboratories and Mead Johnson Company have made some changes.
For example, in September 2014, Abbott stopped selling its Similac Advance Ready-to-Feed baby formula in 8-ounce containers.
Other baby formula lawsuit cases have resulted in multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts.
How to File an NEC Infant Formula Lawsuit
If your premature infant was injured after being fed this popular baby formula, you could file a necrotizing enterocolitis formula lawsuit. Our baby formula lawyers can help when formula-fed babies have been diagnosed with NEC.
The families of premature babies harmed using Similac or Enfamil formula can hold companies legally responsible.
The Statute of Limitations
Under state and federal law, the parents of the infant party (plaintiff) must file a claim with the defendant (responsible company). The defendant must respond to the complaint and either agree to pay damages or deny responsibility for damages.
This action is more about filing an NEC lawsuit. If the company denies the claims, parents can file a lawsuit in court. Contact our knowledgeable and experienced personal injury lawyers today.
Our toxic baby formula NEC lawyers would need to investigate your case. Then, the law firm would draft a complaint filed with the court, beginning the legal process in your case.
According to data, approximately 95% of all civil lawsuits involving contaminated baby formula are resolved through negotiated settlements outside of court. Only a tiny percentage of the remaining cases are ever presented at trial. Because of that, it is crucial to use an attorney who has honed negotiation skills to maximize the amount you are entitled to receive.
Wrongful Death Lawsuit Involving NEC Baby Formula
Our NEC baby formula lawyers provide legal representation to families who lost preterm babies who died after developing NEC. As a result, many families filing baby formula lawsuits hold the baby formula manufacturers accountable for selling a defective product that took the life of their preterm infant.
Parents need a qualified product liability lawyer to help if their child has been injured because of a defective product such as Enfamil or another type of baby formula. Because any injury could potentially cause death, parents could be financially compensated through an NEC baby formula lawsuit.
Bereaved parents will not have to pay our legal fees unless they receive compensation in the case. Our attorneys can provide immediate legal representation until your child's claim is fully resolved through settlement or trial.
While nothing can bring back a child that has died because of NEC or other complications associated with using Enfamil or another baby formula, our lawyers can help grieving parents take legal action through a baby formula NEC baby formula lawsuit after their infant has died.
NEC Baby Formula Lawsuit FAQs
Our personal injury law firm understands that many families have unanswered questions in dealing directly with the insurance companies after their premature baby suffered severe harm consuming a toxic baby formula. Many of these families are entitled to receive financial compensation through a civil claim or class action baby formula lawsuit.
Our infant formula lawyers have answered some of those questions below concerning the risk of NEC in baby formulas. Contact our law firm today at (888) 424-5757 for additional information or schedule a free consultation.
Are infants taking cow milk-based baby formula more likely to develop NEC compared to babies consuming mother's milk?
Some studies reveal strong evidence that breast milk is far safer than infant formulas due to the lower protein content in mother's milk because:
- The higher immunoglobulin content (IgA) found in breast milk helps to protect infants from bacterial infections, and
- Oligosaccharides in mothers' breast milk also reduce the risk of infection.
What are some other ways parents can reduce the risk of NEC in baby formulas?
Some parents may opt to switch to soy-based baby formula to reduce the risk of NEC. While there is no definitive answer, some studies have shown that soy-based formulas may be less likely to cause NEC than milk-based formulas.
Parents should consult with their pediatrician to determine if a soy-based formula is right for them.
How do doctors monitor an infant's condition when they have been affected by NEC after consuming baby formulas?
NEC is a serious problem for some babies who drink baby formula. If your baby has NEC, doctors will watch, diagnose the condition, and monitor the healing process. The diagnosis typically includes blood tests, abdominal x-rays, and blood gas analysis.
In many cases, the diagnosis reveals a perforation (hole) in the intestinal lining or peritonitis (abdominal wall inflammation) that is typically resolved through surgical procedures.
Have plaintiffs filed a class-action lawsuit against the makers of Enfamil and Similac due to the increased risk of NEC in baby formulas?
Yes, plaintiffs have filed a class-action lawsuit against the makers of Similac and Enfamil. The lawsuit alleges that these companies knew or should have known about the heightened risks of NEC in infant formulas but failed to warn parents about this risk.
A lawyer could help you if your premature infant is injured after being fed this popular baby formula. Call us today at (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation.
Our baby formula lawyers have experience with cases involving necrotizing enterocolitis and can help you hold the companies accountable by filing an NEC baby formula lawsuit against all those involved.
Can my family file a baby formula NEC lawsuit without participating in a class action suit?
Many families have filed a toxic baby formula NEC lawsuit seeking monetary compensation from the infant formula makers without class-action participation. These cases tend to resolve significantly quicker than Multidistrict litigation or class action suits.
A baby formula lawsuit involving egregious behavior by the manufacturer could produce punitive damages in an individual case if jurors wish to punish the defendants for their actions.
Attorneys for NEC Infant Formula Lawsuits
The experienced baby formula lawyers at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can help with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) formula lawsuits on a contingency fee basis. In addition, we are experienced in filing medical malpractice lawsuits and suing companies when babies develop NEC.
Call our product liability attorneys today at (800) 424-5757 or fill out an online contact form to schedule your free case review. We can help you fight for the financial compensation your family deserves when your baby has been harmed by cow-milk formula.