Jury Awards $63M to Girl Almost Killed by Children’s Motrin

Photo of Samantha Reckis

Photo of Samantha Reckis prior to taking the drug. (Handout)

A jury has awarded $63 million to the family of a 7-year-old girl who lost her eyesight and nearly died after taking Children’s Motrin.

The popular drug can cause a rare disease known as toxic epidermal necrolysis, or “TEN,” that eats away a person’s skin.

“It’s like having your skin burned off of you. Imagine your worst sunburn times 1,000. It’s an absolutely devastating condition,” said the family’s attorneys, Bradley M. Henry, of the law firm Meehan, Boyle, Black & Bogdanow.

The young girl, Samantha Reckis, had a fever around Thanksgiving in 2003. Her parents gave her the painkiller, but she only got worse. She ended up in the hospital for months, underwent surgery several times, and lost almost all her skin. She is legally blind and has permanent lung and liver damage.

Her parents sued Johnson & Johnson, the maker of the drug, for not warning patients about the possible side effects.

The family’s attorney pointed out that in 2003, the prescription version of adult Motrin briefly mentioned Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a more common form of TEN, but the over-the-counter children’s version of the drug contained no warning at all.

Attorney Bradley Henry headshot

Attorney Bradley Henry

The jury agreed with the family, awarding $50 million to Samantha, who is now 16, and $13 million to her parents. With interest, the total payout will be $109 million, Henry said.

The company said it sympathized with the family but disagreed with the verdict.

The Reckis family said after the verdict that “Drug companies like Johnson & Johnson can no longer hide behind an approval by the overworked FDA as an excuse not to warn consumers about known, devastating drug reactions. Parents like us have a right to know.”

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