A jury has awarded a family $23 million in punitive damages just days after awarding them $15 million in compensatory damages in a Depakote birth defects lawsuit. The defendants named in the case were Abbott Laboratories and AbbVie, Inc. The lawsuit was held in St. Louis and it was filed by a family in Minnesota. The plaintiffs successfully argued that using Depakote during the early stages of pregnancy exposed the child to harm. This harm manifested itself by way of several serious birth defects that have substantially harmed the child’s quality of life. The child is currently 12 years old.
Summary of the Depakote Lawsuit
This Depakote lawsuit is one of approximately two dozen that are active in the St. Louis area alone. According to the plaintiffs, the mother of the child was prescribed Depakote to help her manage the symptoms associated with epilepsy. Unfortunately, the child was born several months later with several birth defects including spina bifida. The plaintiffs were awarded $15 million in compensatory damages, which are designed to help make plaintiffs whole both for losses that have been suffered and those that will be incurred in the future.
After the initial verdict, the jury decided whether or not to award the plaintiffs punitive damages in a second phase of the trial. Punitive damages are sought when plaintiffs feel that the conduct of defendants was particularly egregious, willful or malicious. The plaintiffs in this case argued that the defendants should be held liable for punitive damages because Abbott Laboratories and AbbVie, Inc. actively tried to hide the risks of Depakote side effects from the public. The jury apparently agreed. AbbVie, Inc., which will be financially responsible for the damages, has stated that it will appeal this decision.
Depakote was originally approved for use in the United States in 1978. It was supposed to be used for conditions that included epilepsy. However, years later awareness began to grow regarding the potential risks faced by fetuses when mothers used the medication during the early stages of pregnancy. Of particular risk was to the neural tube, which forms during the early stages of a fetus’ development. Neural tube defects can lead to serious harm to the brain, the heart and to the spinal cord, and spina bifida is often the result.
About Depakote Lawsuits
There were an enormous number of Depakote lawsuits filed across the United States in recent years, and many of them resulted in a recovery of damages for the plaintiffs who filed them. However, it should be clear by now that AbbVie, Inc. and Abbott Laboratories are going to continue to fight for their own interests and that anyone who has been harmed by this medication should not seek to hold them accountable without professional help. If you or someone you love has suffered as a result of this drug, contact the Depakote lawyers at Parilman & Associates today to schedule a free initial consultation. You can either email the firm or call 800-800-DRUG.