Abbott Labs Faces Similac Product Liability Class Action

A lawsuit filed Monday in the Western District of Washington brings allegations that defendant Abbott Labortories, Inc.’s Similac cow’s milk-based products were defective, causing the plaintiff’s newborn to contract necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).

The newborn, who was born preterm, allegedly developed the disease while in the newborn intensive care unit after receiveing a variety of the cow’s milk-based forumla products. The complaint cites research showing links between these products and NEC leading to death for preterm births.

“The results show that preterm babies fed an exclusively human milk-based diet were 90% less likely to develop surgical NEC as compared to a diet that included some cow’s milk-based products,” the plaintiffs claim. They also cite a 2011 Surgeon General report noting the linkage, as well as further publications in recent years.

The plaintiffs accuse the defendant of marketing the products as safe and superior to human-based milk products, including calling them “human milk fortifiers,” allegedly to imply that they are human-based.

Abbott Laboratories is accused of violating the Washington Product Liability Act, strict liability, and consumer protection laws. The plaintiffs are seeking treble damages, including special and punitive damages, as well as costs. They are represented by Schroeter Goldmark & Bender.