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No verdict in Children's Motrin trial

July 15, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
New developments as a jury deliberates in the trial of a lawsuit brought by the family of a Topanga girl. They claim she was left blind and nearly died after taking Children's Motrin. The family is seeking nearly a billion dollars from the drug maker.The jury in this case has gone home for the day. They do not have a verdict.

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There was a bit of courtroom drama earlier Tuesday. Everyone thought that the jury did have a verdict, but when they actually came into the courtroom, they simply had a technical question about Motrin's manufacturer, McNeill Laboratories, and its parent company, Johnson & Johnson.

Both companies have been sued by 11-year-old Sabrina Johnson's family. The jury wanted to find out if both or just one of the companies would have to take the fall if there was a guilty verdict in this case.

This trial has been going on for the last six weeks in Malibu, and it comes after 11-year-old Topanga Canyon resident Sabrina Johnson took several doses of Children's Motrin back in 2003 and had a severe allergic reaction. She was 6 years old at the time.

Her family says she immediately became blind in both her eyes, and that's when they decided to sue Johnson & Johnsons for about a billion dollars. They are seeking about $117 million in damages, and $950 million in punitive damages.

Johnson's family claims the drug company did not properly label Motrin with a warning for these types of reactions. Johnson & Johnson, though, says they did have the proper warning labels on the drug, and it was approved by the FDA. They say that 11-year-old Johnson had been diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, which is a rare skin disorder. They believe that's what caused her to have such an intense reaction.

Sabrina Johnson is still legally blind. She had some dramatic testimony during this trial. She took the stand, and if she wins this case, it could open the doors for huge damage awards against drug manufacturers.

But the jurors have gone home for the day. There is no verdict. Jurors will return Wednesday morning to continue deliberating.

 

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