A judge in St. Louis has affirmed a $38 million settlement to a girl who was born with spina bifida and other severe birth defects after her mother took the anti-seizure medication Depakote during pregnancy.
Free Confidential Lawsuit Evaluation: If your child or other loved one was born with a birth defect after the mother took Depakote during pregnancy, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit and our lawyers can help.
What’s the Problem?
February 6, 2017 – The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Maddison Schmidt, who was born with spina bifida, microcephaly, ocular coloboma (congenital eye defect), brain malformations, cognitive impairment (IQ between 55 and 61, bottom 1%), and is paralyzed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair. As a result of these problems, Schmidt has required numerous surgeries including the placement of a shunt in her skull, shunt revisions, and spinal surgery.
In May 2015, a St. Louis jury awarded $15 million in compensatory damages and $23 million in punitive damages to Schmidt after finding that Abbott had failed to warn her mother about the risk of birth defects with Depakote.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) classifies Depakote as a Pregnancy Category X medication, which means that studies have demonstrated evidence of human fetal risk, and the risks involved with use of the drug during pregnancy outweigh any potential benefits.
However, when Maddison’s mother took Depakote in 2002, the label had not been updated for nearly 20 years. It was so outdated that lawyers accused Abbott of intentionally downplaying the risk in order to maximize profits.
The 2002 labeling did warn that 1-2% of babies exposed to Depakote in the womb would develop spina bifida, but actually means that Depakote increases risk of the defect by 2,060% compared to non-users. Depakote is now known to cause birth defects in at least 10% of babies who are exposed to it, according to the lawsuit.
Abbott appealed the verdict and requested a new trial; however, in November 2016 the Missouri Court of Appeals upheld the award. The verdict doesn’t bode well for Abbott, which faces hundreds of other similar lawsuits alleging birth defects from Depakote.
Do I Have a Depakote Lawsuit?
The Pharmaceutical Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Depakote lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new birth defects cases in all 50 states.
Free Case Evaluation: Again, if your child or other loved one was injured by the side effects of Depakote, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.