This blog gives the most recent updates on the Similac baby formula lawsuit. We will take you through:

  • Similac and Enfamil's role in Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC)

  • the position of Similac NEC claims in 2022 plus the direction these lawsuits will take, and

  • the anticipated settlement payout levels for Similac infant formula litigation for damages plus wrongful death to preterm infants who suffered because of NEC

Litigations Against Similac for Leading to NEC in Preterm Infants

Similac cases have been submitted countrywide, asserting that the renowned cow-milk-based infant formula led many premature babies to suffer necrotizing enterocolitis, a deadly gastrointestinal infection.

Different agencies are assessing possible Similac cases against Abbott Laboratories, the formula producer, for failing to warn concerning the potential dangers of NEC associated with Similac. Any parent or guardian who files a successful necrotizing enterocolitis case for baby formula might get compensated with a hefty amount of money.

In subsequent sections below, we will discuss the possible payout rates for Similac infant formula claims, including NEC.

Similac May Raise the Probability of Necrotizing Enterocolitis in Preterm Babies

Similac Infant formula is a known baby formula made from cow milk to replace nursing in babies.

According to clinical studies and medical research, administering cow milk formulations like Similac to premature newborns increases their chances of acquiring a life-threatening bowel disease referred to as necrotizing enterocolitis.

Necrotizing enterocolitis is a condition in which the tissue within the large or small intestine's inner lining becomes injured and starts to die. The intestine becomes inflamed because of this. The illness primarily affects just the gut's inner lining, but it can eventually affect the intestine's entire thickness.

A perforation in the walls of the intestines may occur in severe conditions of NEC. If this happens, bacteria typically contained in the intestine can flow into the belly and transmit infection throughout the body. This medical situation requires immediate attention, causing sepsis, a bloodstream infection.

NEC is a severe disease that requires immediate treatment. If your baby shows symptoms of NEC, immediately contact your doctor because it could be dangerous and potentially life-threatening if the condition is not treated early enough.

According to scientific research, NEC has been linked to Similac for more than 30 years. According to a recent study, preterm babies fed with Similac (and cow-milk-based formulations) had a considerably higher NEC incidence than those nourished on breast milk. Preterm newborns who feed on cow-milk formulas like Similac have higher chances of having NEC than breastfed babies.

With several other well-known public health organizations, the American Academy of Pediatrics has given severe warnings against feeding infants with Similac or any different cow-milk formulations to premature babies because of this.

Similac's Manufacturer Purposefully Neglected to Warn Concerning NEC's Dangers

Similac is the premium brand for a wide range of Abbott baby formula products sold to nourish premature and dietary-restricted infants. A few of these items are available in stores, while others are only obtainable in hospitals.

Abbott Laboratories Inc. ("Abbott") manufactures and sells the Similac baby formula brand. Abbott had complete information of the research associating Similac to more significant NEC risks among preterm newborns.

Despite its knowledge of the scientific evidence, the company failed to incorporate a disclaimer on their Similac formulas, alerting medics and parents/guardians to the increased chance of NEC linked to Similac and premature babies. Each Similac baby formula lawsuit will center on Abbott's refusal to warn.

The reason is that Abbott's legal responsibility as a product maker is to notify about known hazards and dangers linked with its products. Abbott has chosen not to add any NEC cautions on the product information for Similac, probably to minimize any negative influence on the product's marketability. Enfamil vs. Similac is a hard-fought war. The formula that will be first to issue an NEC disclaimer is likely to lose its market share.

The essential allegations in these baby formula cases are that Abbott Laboratories violated the Consumer Legal Remedies Act. It did this by misleading, deceiving, and otherwise failing to inform consumers of the risks associated with premature birth and infant death linked to the use of Similac baby formula in NEC cases.

Similac Lawsuits: Where Are They Now?

According to lawyers, Similac, with the higher risk of NEC in premature babies, remains in the initial litigation phases. More people are filing Similac NEC lawsuits against this company in courts nationwide. Similac infant formula attorneys are taking on new suits in the entire region.

Each Similac lawsuit asserts that Abbott was negligent in failing to warn about the product's risks. They also argue that Abbott is strictly liable for their defective product.

All current Similac cases throughout the federal courts will most likely be combined into a single "civil lawsuit" multidistrict litigation (MDL) as the NEC infant formula cases continue to rise. MDLs are like traditional class action lawsuits in mass catastrophic product liability cases. The only distinction is that the suits are completely separated and are merely amalgamated for pretrial disclosure purposes. However, most clients could submit their Similac infant formula cases in Illinois as its law is more favorable; plus, this is where you find the Abbott headquarters.

A civil lawsuit in exceptional instances with significant damages and clear evidence of the plaintiffs' liability has previously been a means to a global settlement.

The Worth of Settling Similac Lawsuits

The NEC Similac lawsuit is still in its initial stages. Neither of the allegations involving NEC baby formula has proceeded to trial or received a settlement. It is thus extremely difficult to preempt the future payment worth of such lawsuits.

Experienced infant formula lawyers can look at the recent malpractice claims settlements and judgments wherein the principal injury involved a preterm baby suffering from NEC.

Therefore, it is possible to have a rough estimate on how much the settlement for the Similac infant formula case will be.

Based on the most current malpractice lawsuits discovered by baby formula lawyers regarding NEC in premature infants, the median verdict or compensation value was approximately $3.5 million. $1.3 million was the average monetary award in the seven NEC lawsuits.

As a result, the infant formula lawyers believe the lawsuit's worth is likely higher since Abbott, a major corporation that profits handsomely from such a product, are not as sympathetic as the medical professionals.

Settlements in a case that will become a civil suit are almost ever lower than the court's amount. With the caveat that these actions are still in their early stages because a great deal of evidence still exists to be unearthed, attorneys predict that the approximate settlement worth of an NEC Similac case will range between three to eight hundred dollars per person. The severity of the infant's injuries will determine where such a settlement falls within that range.

An Example of a Similac Lawsuit

Although there have been an increasing number of NEC infant formula cases recently, here's a look at one of such cases. Shannon Hall, et al. v. Abbott Laboratories, 1:22-cv-00071. From all appearances, Hall's case seems to be the first case to be on record in 2022, filed on 5th January in the Illinois Northern District. Shannon submitted this claim in place of Eli Hall, her deceased son.

Eli Hall was a preterm baby born in North Carolina, Winston Salem, at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center at 29 weeks gestation. This was on 27th November 2019. After birth, the baby was placed at the NICU, and during the initial week, his mother expressed her breast milk to cater to the baby's nutritional needs. The NICU gave Eli breast milk from donors to supplement his mother whenever necessary.

By 9th December, Baby Eli started receiving additions to the regular mother/donor's breast milk he was taking. First, it was the human milk fortifier. The hospital included Similac Special Care Formula on 20th December to the human milk fortifier and breast milk diet. Eli took Similac Special Care 30 calorie formula every four hours. This diet combination continued until 6th January. From 20th December to 6th January, Similac Special Care Formula composed half of Eli's diet.

On 6th January, Baby Eli's abdomen became distended, and he also developed additional symptoms of necrotizing enterocolitis. The following day, his condition worsened as he had chronic metabolic acidosis. He was diagnosed with necrotizing enterocolitis in its third stage. He underwent an urgent laparotomy surgery, and the attending surgeon determined that there was nothing they could do to save Baby Eli. He died on 7th January 2020.

This wrongful death case in Hall presents why there is a lawsuit against Abbott Laboratories for three reasons. The first is that the company knowingly put out a defective product. Secondly, they didn't warn their consumers of the risks. And the third is that they continued producing the Similac product despite knowing the risks. For all NEC formula cases, the most outstanding liability that rests on Abbott Laboratories is on its failure to put up a disclaimer on its products, particularly the Similac Infant formula on the risk it poses on preterm babies.

Similac Civil Case for NEC

The primary defendants in NEC baby formula lawsuits, Mead Johnson and Abbott Laboratories, are within the Chicago region. As a result, most of these cases are filed in Illinois state courts. In December, the lawyers representing the plaintiffs in these cases submitted a motion to the Illinois Supreme Court requesting the consolidation of all current NEC claims into one Madison County infant formula civil lawsuit.

On 3rd January 2022, the Illinois Supreme Court granted both Mead and Abbott an extended time to respond to this motion. Considering the advantages that may come with this proposal, saving on costs, it is highly probable that these companies will respond positively. Defending about 30 cases for the same complaint on different occasions might prove time-consuming and more expensive.

Illinois law is more favorable for individuals pursuing NEC lawsuits. It's important to note that lawyers from other states or jurisdictions can file their Similac infant formula lawsuits in Illinois. As soon as the Illinois Supreme Court gives a verdict on the consolidation motion, lawyers with a particular interest in these cases will get a clear picture of the NEC lawsuits' direction.

NEC's Defense Lawsuits Against Similac Infant Formula

Understandably, Abbott's lawyers don't want the Similac formula case to proceed to any jury. As a result, they're working on legal reasons to prevent the victims from getting to a court session. Learned intermediaries and preemption are Abbott's two main argument points.

Based on 20 US CODE 350a, Infant Formula Act ("IFA"), Abbott will contend that the federal law has preempted the claimants' Similac NEC actions. This federal law, IFA, regulates infant formula manufacturing and its labeling. It further necessitates the FDA's approval of baby formula products before commercializing them.

The IFA, according to Abbott, preempts the torts allegations within the NEC complaint because there's no possibility of complying with both federal and state obligations. Abbott claims that the preemption law bars the defendants' argument on the defective design of Similac.

Abbott claims it followed the FDA's approval and review process as mandated by the Infant Formula Act, including determining if a cow's milk is acceptable to be used as an additive.

However, reality shows that Abbott has lost this defense in other medication litigation. Under the IFA and infant formula, attorneys have never come across a case with preemption in an infant formula case.

Abbott will further argue that the so-called learned intermediary concept precludes the defendants' claims for failing to warn concerning Similac's risk. According to this reasoning, Abbott does not have a legal responsibility to tell the parents of their product's danger. The educated intermediary clause places the responsibility for warning on the infant's doctors.

This reasoning may be theoretically accurate for those Similac formulas available through a hospital settlement only, including most of the current NEC formula lawsuits. On the other hand, Abbott was responsible for alerting doctors about the NEC risk in its baby formula. As a result, this legal standpoint is also unlikely to succeed.

Join a Similac NEC Lawsuit Near Me

If you are a parent to a preterm infant who developed NEC after using cow-milk-based infant formulas or the Similac infant formula and seeking justice for your baby, you should contact our product liability attorneys at Customer Alert Now. We take up cases from across the country and give our clients a free case review. Contact us today at 800-511-0747.