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$48.1M Los Angeles Products Liability Verdict Awarded to Man That Took Motrin and Developed SJS and TEN

December 31, 1969

Christopher Trejo, 22, has been awarded $48.1 million in his Los Angeles dangerous drug lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, Mcneil Consumer Healthcare, and McKesson Corp. Mcneil Consumer Healthcare, which makes Motrin, is a J & J subsidiary.

Trejo was 15 when he took Motrin to alleviate his fever and his pains from playing soccer in 2005. Not long after, the Westchester resident was diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and then later Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis. The illnesses left him with severe skin lesions, vision problems (he expects to be completely blind in the future) and damage to his internal organs. He also was hospitalized for days because he required treatment for his wounds, which appeared all over his body and have been likened to second-degree burns.

Trejo has lost his senses of taste and smell. He also says that his mucous membranes have also been impacted and that, as a result, his eyelids and mouth can become sealed. Trejo, who is a manager at McDonald's says that customers don't want him to serve them because they think he suffers from conjunctivitis.

In his Los Angles products liability complaint, filed in 2008, Trejo claimed design defect, negligence, and failure to warn about possible side effects. It wasn't until 2006 that Motrin added warnings of possible blisters, rashes, and red skin on its label.

The jury awarded Trejo $21.1 million for pain and suffering, $11.4 million for medical expenses and lost wages, and punitive damages: $8.79 million against Johnson & Johnson, and $6.8 million against McNeil.

Punitive Damages
Unlike compensatory damages, which are to compensate the plaintiff and make him/her whole, punitive damages are considered punishment for the defendant, as well as to discourage future bad conduct. Not every case that ends in favor of plaintiff will result in punitive damages.

In Trejo's Los Angeles dangerous drug lawsuit, his personal injury attorney had called for punitive damages, saying it would send a message to the defendants. The lawyer argued that J & J and McNeil waited to add warnings to the label for economic reasons, including "profit" and to "avoid the sales implications.' Trejo had said that if the warning of rashes, blister, and skin reddening had been on the Motrin label in 2005, he wouldn't have taken the medication.

The verdict in his California products liability case comes four months after another jury awarded the family of Brianna Maya $10 million for the burns and blindness she experienced after taking Children's Motrin in 2000. Brianna was 3 when she developed SJS and TEN.

$48M awarded to man in Motrin blood blisters case, SeattlePI, October 4, 2011

Motrin Lawsuit: Jury Awards Girl $10 Million for Burns and Blindness, ABC News, June 3, 2011

More Blog Posts:

Los Angeles Dangerous Drug Trial: Man Claims Motrin Caused Him to Develop Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis, California Injury Lawyers, August 23, 2011

Food and Drug Administration Advisory Panel is Worried about the Number of Injuries Linked to Fosamax, California Injury Lawyers, September 16, 2011

Are SSRI Antidepressants Dangerous Drugs?: Their Link to Birth Defects, California Injury Lawyers, August 19, 2011

Drug manufacturers must make sure their medications are safe for use and warn of any side effects that could cause serious Los Angeles personal injury or wrongful death. It is unfortunate when pharmaceutical companies place profit over the safety of consumers and they should be held liable for their negligent actions.