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Thursday, December 7, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Thursday, December 7, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Family Can Sue Motrin Maker, Texas Judge Rules

(CN) - A Johnson & Johnson division might be liable for the death of a man who allegedly lost the top layer of his skin after taking the pain killer Motrin, a federal judge in Dallas ruled.

Christopher M. Lofton reacted to ibuprofen, Motrin's active ingredient, by developing Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, a rare condition that causes the top skin layer to die and shed, his wife and children claim.

He died June 3, 2000, after his organs shut down.

His family sued Johnson & Johnson' McNeil Consumer and Specialty Pharmaceuticals (now called McNeil Consumer Healthcare) for defective design and marketing, breach of warranty, negligence, deceptive trade and wrongful death.

U.S. District Judge Sam A. Lindsay dismissed with prejudice Lofton's wife's claims for wrongful death and survival, because she filed suit after the statute of limitations was up.

Lindsay allowed the Lofton children to proceed on claims of wrongful death, survival, defective design and breach of implied warranty, saying the statute of limitations does not apply to minors.

However, the court threw out the children's claims for marketing defect, breach of warranty, negligence and deceptive trade.

The Lofton family had complained that when Christopher Lofton took Motrin in 2000, the label did not warn about rashes, reddened skin or blisters - early symptoms of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome.

The label now carries such warnings.

But Judge Lindsay ruled that the "Motrin label in 2000 was adequate," because the FDA at that time had not recommended warning consumers of skin-reaction symptoms.

Judge Lindsay partially granted and partially denied McNeil's motion for summary judgment against the Loftons' claim for punitive damages.

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