MESSA & ASSOCIATES, P.C.
Messa & Associates Files Second Lawsuit Against Johnson & Johnson
Tainted Tylenol Caused Death of Two-Week-Old Infant
PHILADELPHIA, PA: Johnson & Johnson, its subsidiary companies and key executives have been sued in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas for the death of a two-week-old infant, Tracen Sherfey, after he ingested recalled Infant’s Tylenol. The company, despite knowing of manufacturing problems with the drug, did not issue a comprehensive and wide-spread recall of the product and repeatedly downplayed any health risks in hearings before United States House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Philadelphia-based law firm of Messa & Associates, P.C. filed the suit on behalf of Tracen’s parents, Stacy and Neil.
“This is just another example of a family who has suffered a tragic loss because a multi-billion dollar company refused to do the right thing, and issue a widespread recall of a dangerous product,” said Attorney Joe Messa today. “Johnson & Johnson’s failure to address quality control concerns in the manufacturing process of their products — including Infant’s Tylenol – has resulted in the deaths of innocent children like Tracen Sherfey. Unfortunately, the company takes its profits and its own reputation more seriously than the lives of their consumers.”
On February 16, 2009, Tracen Sherfey’s mother gave him a dose of Infant’s Tylenol as recommended by Tracen’s doctor. She gave Tracen a second dose the next morning; and a third dose of the Infant’s Tylenol later in the day. Following the third dose, Tracen began vomiting blood. Tracen, who had no underlying liver disease before taking the drug, died two days later of fulminant liver failure on February 19, 2009. The Tylenol had been manufactured by McNeil, a subsidiary of J&J located in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania.
Mr. Messa continued, “This is the second lawsuit this firm has filed against Johnson & Johnson, McNeil and the people responsible for causing these deaths. Both cases involve an almost identical set of facts. Both cases involve children who had no history of liver problems. Both children vomited blood after their mothers gave them appropriate doses of Tylenol. Both developed liver failure and then died from that liver failure. In Tracen’s case, his doctors recognized that it is extremely rare for a baby to die from liver failure. The common thread in these cases is that these parents gave their children a Tylenol product which Johnson & Johnson and McNeil had to pull from store shelves because they were tainted. These children got sick and died the same way. These are not coincidences.”
McNeil has a long history of quality control problems dating back to at least 2004, and admitted to a “stealth” recall of defective Motrin and Tylenol products, including Children’s and Infant’s Tylenol. In the four years preceding the death of Tracen Sherfey, the FDA criticized J&J and McNeil for manufacturing deficiencies at their Fort Washington McNeil plant. This facility was closed permanently in April 2010. At least 40 products manufactured at McNeil plants have been recalled in recent years, including the largest recall of children and infant medicine in history.
On May 5, 2010, as a direct result of the April 30, 2010, recall of Children’s Tylenol and other children’s Medicines, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform opened an investigation and held two public hearings. In testimony before the Committee on May 27, 2010, Colleen A. Goggins, Worldwide Chairman of the Johnson & Johnson Consumer Group, admitted that the company had “not lived up to [its] responsibility” to “the doctors, nurses, and patients, to mothers and fathers, and all others who use our products and services.” In the September 30, 2010, hearing William C. Weldon, Chairman and CEO of J&J, apologized for not maintaining “high quality standards” and “let[ting] the public down”, He said he accepted “full accountability for the problems at McNeil.” Both Mr. Weldon and Ms. Goggins downplayed the risks the public faced from the tainted products, however.
However, the FDA, in prepared testimony presented at the May 27, 2010, Congressional hearing, noted that “neither upper management at Johnson & Johnson nor at McNeil assured timely investigation and resolution of the issues.” Ms. Sherfey purchased the tainted Tylenol from a local Wal-Mart sometime before the Congressional investigation was opened.
“We fully expect Johnson & Johnson to claim, like it does in every case where a child dies, that the recalls were not related to their tainted drug. Internal Johnson & Johnson documents obtained by Congress in its investigation prove that those statements are not accurate,” Mr. Messa said.
“Tracen Sherfey’s death should have never happened,” said Messa in closing. “Johnson & Johnson, its executives, and its subsidiaries and sellers failed to do their part to prevent his death and must be held accountable for this tragedy.”
About Messa & Associates, P.C.
Messa & Associates, P.C. represents individuals and their families in complex personal injury matters, including catastrophic injury, medical malpractice, product liability, motor vehicle accidents, fires and explosions. Our attorneys serve Pennsylvania clients throughout the state, including in Philadelphia and other surrounding communities in Montgomery County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Bucks County. Messa & Associates are also proud to serve New Jersey clients throughout that state, and also litigate selected cases throughout the country.