In recent years, a number of baby formula lawsuits have been filed against two of the leading brands in infant nutrition, Enfamil and Similac. Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a serious medical condition that affects premature infants and can be fatal and it has been linked to the use of Enfamil or Similac baby formula.


The Link Between NEC, Enfamil and Similac


Research suggests NEC may be related to an immature immune system in preterm infants that makes them vulnerable to infection. This lack of immunity increases the risk of NEC, which is an inflammatory bowel disease caused by an infection in the intestines. It can lead to necrosis, or death of tissue in the intestines, as well as severe bleeding and other complications such as sepsis and organ failure.


Studies have found that premature babies fed with infant formula containing cow’s milk had a higher risk of developing NEC compared to those given breast milk. Cow’s milk-based formulas contain compounds called metabolites which may irritate the intestinal lining and increase the likelihood for infection. In addition, many formulas are made with cow’s milk proteins that are difficult for preterm infants to digest, leading to increased inflammation in their intestines. This can further weaken their immune system and make them more susceptible to NEC. Inflammation of the small intestine or colon can cause the tissue to die.  This can result in perforations that allow bacteria to leak from the digestive tract into the baby’s abdomen or bloodstream. Ultimately NEC can lead to organ failure and oftentimes death.  Even if a baby survives the acute phase he or she may experience long-term issues including intestinal failure, short gut syndrome and developmental delays.


Lawsuits Against Baby Formula Companies


Lawsuits against the makers of Similac and Enfamil, Abbott Laboratories, Inc., and Mead Johnson Nutrition Company are pending in a multidistrict litigation in the Northern District of Illinois.  The lawsuits allege that the manufacturers of these products were aware of the risk of NEC and failed to warn families of the risk of this life-threatening condition.  No cases have been tried to date and the parties are exchanging discovery and determining which cases will be tried as bellwether cases.


The lawsuits that have been filed against Enfamil and Similac seek damages for medical expenses incurred as a result of using one of the formulas. These damages can include reimbursement for doctor visits, hospital bills, and any other associated costs related to treating NEC. Additionally, some parents may seek compensation for lost wages due to time off work needed to tend to their ill child or missed educational opportunities caused by developmental delays linked to exposure to the formula’s contaminants.


Furthermore, depending on the severity of a child’s ailment associated with use of either of the product lines, parents may also seek punitive damages from Enfamil and Similac for failing in their responsibility to provide safe products for infants and to warn of the risks of the products. This could include compensation for pain and suffering along with additional awards granted by juries intended not only to punish but also deter similar conduct in the future.


Showard Law is accepting NEC cases where the injury occurred in all 50 states.  The cases will likely be filed in the consolidated action.  If your premature baby was diagnosed with NEC after being given Enfamil or Similac we will review your case and advise you on the best possible course of action.  It is important to contact us as soon as possible as there are deadlines to file a claim.


Showard Law Firm is committed to providing quality compassionate legal representation when dealing with companies that put profits ahead of people’s safety, including those producing unsafe baby formula products like Enfamil and Similac. We understand you are going through an emotionally difficult time and our goal is always get you the best possible result while making this process as stress-free as possible during this trying time in your life.


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