A St. Louis judge has upheld a $38 million lawsuit settlement to a girl whose family blamed Abbott Laboratories’ epilepsy medication Depakote for causing her spina bifida and other severe birth defects.
Free Confidential Lawsuit Evaluation: If your child or other loved one was born with a birth defect after the mother took Depakote during pregnancy, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit and our lawyers can help.
What’s the problem?
In May 2015, a jury in St. Louis County Circuit Court awarded Plaintiff Maddison Schmidt $15 million in compensation for her injuries, in addition to $23 million in punitive damages against Abbott for failing to warn her mother about the risk of birth defects with Depakote (divalproex sodium and valproic acid).
According to the lawsuit, Schmidt was born with the following defects:
- Spina bifida
- Ocular coloboma (congenital eye defect)
- Brain malformations
- Cognitive impairment (IQ between 55 and 61, bottom 1%)
- Paralyzed from the waist down
Abbott claimed that at least 6 doctors warned Maddison’s mother about the risks of taking Depakote during pregnancy, but she still chose to take it because no other medications were effective for controlling her seizures. However, Plaintiff’s attorney countered that Abbott should have told doctors to try all other drugs before choosing to prescribe Depakote to patients who may become pregnant.
The jury’s vote on $23 million punitive damages was nine to three. Schmidt’s lawyer, who was asking for $150 million in punitive damages, claimed that Maddison’s medical expenses could run anywhere from $9 million to $19 million and a loss of $1 million in potential earnings because of her mother’s Depakote use while pregnant.
Abbott appealed the verdict and requested a new trial; however, the Missouri Court of Appeals upheld the award. The ruling doesn’t bode well for Abbott, which faces hundreds of other similar lawsuits alleging birth defects from Depakote.
The suit brought counts of strict products liability, negligence, breach of implied warranty, misrepresentation, fraud and intentional infliction of emotional distress against Abbott.
Do I Have a Depakote Class Action Lawsuit?
The Class Action Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Depakote lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new birth defect cases in all 50 states.
Free Case Evaluation: Again, if your child or other loved one was harmed by Depakote side effects, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.