Cases & Deals

Abbott secures second unanimous defense verdict in products liability trial involving powdered infant formula

Client(s) Abbott Laboratories

On Friday, March 14, 2014, Jones Day secured a unanimous defense verdict in favor of Abbott Laboratories in a product liability case in federal court in Asheville, North Carolina. The jury trial lasted one week. The plaintiff alleged that her minor son suffered severe and permanent brain injury as a result of bacterial meningitis after consuming an Abbott powdered infant formula in 2004. Plaintiff sought compensatory damages of more than $50 million in her negligence claims for defective manufacture, design and labeling, in addition to punitive damages, which the court struck during trial.

Prior to trial, the court granted a number of defense motions, including Abbott's motion to dismiss a breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty, and North Carolina Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act claims.

The discovery and motion practice in the case had been handled by Chicago partner June Ghezzi and associate Melissa Hirst since the filing of the case in 2007. June Ghezzi and Dan Reidy tried the case as lead lawyers. Assistance was provided by Chicago partner Paula Quist and associates Gabe Scannapieco and Kevin Knight. Wyatt Stevens and Ann-Patton Hornthal, counsel from the Roberts-Stevens firm in Asheville, NC, also assisted at trial.

Kimberly S. Sisk v. Abbott Laboratories, No. 1:11-cv-00159-MR-DLH (W.D.N.C., March 2014)