Several parents sue formula companies after premature infants developed NEC

Several parents claim their premature infants developed necrotizing enterocolitis after being fed Similac or Enfamil infant formula.

Steven Binkowitz, as representative of the estate of Henya Binkowitz; Nicholette and Jonas Findley; Sheena Hayman, as representative of the estate of Jace Fisher; Jasmine Perryman, as representative of the estate of Meladee Pettaway; Demara Smitherman, as representative of the estate of Raequawn Smitherman; and Jennifer Boyd, on behalf of her minor child William Bryant, filed a lawsuit on Nov. 19 in the Madison County Circuit Court against Mead Johnson and Company, LLC., Mead Johnson Nutrition Company and Abbott Laboratories.

The lawsuit alleges strict liability for design defect, strict liability for failure to warn, negligence, intentional misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, loss of consortium, survival action, wrongful death actions, violation of the Louisiana Products Liability Act and violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

According to the complaint, the six children born to the plaintiffs were all born prematurely and fed Similac or Enfamil infant formula. After consuming the unpasteurized cow’s milk formula, all six children developed necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). Of the six children, four underwent surgery and did not survive. The two surviving children suffer long-term heath effects that will last their individual lifetimes, the suit states.

NEC develops when harmful bacteria breaches the walls of the intestine, causing portions of the intestine to become inflamed and usually die. Once NEC develops, the condition can progress quickly into fatal sepsis. NEC is six to ten times more common to develop in premature infants feeding on unpasteurized cow’s milk than in breast milk-fed babies.

The plaintiffs allege that none of the defendants offered warnings on their products or through marketing that products were unsafe or could be harmful to premature infants. The plaintiffs also claim they did not offer statistical data of the connection between NEC development and unpasteurized cow’s milk, making them negligent.

The plaintiffs individually and collectively were caused to suffer emotional distress, loss of income, loss of consortium and medical expenses.

The plaintiffs seek compensatory damages, damages for past, present and future emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, mental anguish and other non-economic losses, past, present and future out-of-pocket expenses, loss of income and/or lost revenue, lost profits, lost business opportunity, lost earning capacity, cost related to medical or mental health treatment, interest, attorney’s fees and cost of suit.

This article was first published in Madison Record.

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