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Jurors Render $4.02 Million Verdict Against Makers of Topamax

Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a division of Johnson & Johnson, was stung by a $4.02 million verdict last week after being accused of not warning pregnant women of the dangers to unborn children by their popular drug, Topamax.
  • <strong>The FDA has warned that taking Topamax during pregnancy can cause birth defects.</strong>

We did not come down here for sympathy. We came here for justice.

    PHILADELPHIA, PA, November 05, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- A Philadelphia jury has awarded more than $4 million to the parents of 5-year-old Blake Czimmer, who, doctors and lawyers say, developed birth defects after his pregnant mother took Topamax, a popular drug approved to control seizures.

Following a trial that lasted more than 10 days, jurors took less than an hour to render a verdict in favor of the plaintiff. During her pregnancy, April Czimmer took Topamax for more than six months before giving birth to a son with a cleft lip which required four surgeries to repair.

The FDA issued a safety announcement in 2011, which discussed emerging data that pointed to an increase in risk of oral clefts in children born to mothers who took Topamax during pregnancy.

Pulaski & Middleman, L.L.C., along with the law firm of Clark, Love & Hutson and attorney Tommy Fibich represented Czimmer in her claims against Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a division of Johnson & Johnson. Scott Love of the Houston law firm of Clark, Love & Hutson along with Tommy Fibich tried the case in Czimmer V Ortho-McNeil-Hanssen Pharmaceuticals, Case No. 1105-03459. The case was heart in state court of The First Judicial District of Pennsylvania.

Janssen was initially accused of knowing the risks to unborn children but failing to warn users and their doctors of those risks prior to seeking FDA approval of Topamax. The presiding judge, however, removed the lack of warning issue, along with the possibility of punitive damages.

The trial focused on Janssen's negligence, misleading marketing and dishonest business practices.

Czimmer's lawyers were allowed to argue that she would not have taken Topamax for six months during her pregnancy if Janssen would have warned pregnant women that the drug caused an increased risk for birth defects.

During closing remarks, Tommy Fibich, an attorney for the plaintiff told jurors, "We did not come down here for sympathy. We came here for justice".

Currently there are more than 130 lawsuits pending in state court against the makers of Topamax. Earlier this week, another trial began which focused on the injuries of a 5-year-old boy from South Carolina.

In order for the trial to end with a verdict, at least 10 jurors had to agree on whether Janssen failed to warn health care providers of the increased risk of birth defects. Further, at least 10 jurors must also agree as to whether Janssen's negligence was a substantial factor in the plaintiff's injuries and damages.

THE LAW OFFICE OF PULASKI & MIDDLEMAN, L.L.C. is located in Houston, Texas. We represent plaintiffs from across the United States, individually, and in class and mass actions. Typically, we represent clients who have suffered serious injury, death or other damages from dangerous and defective products, medical malpractice, automobile accidents, premises liability, consumer fraud and deceptive business practices and toxic and environmental exposure to dangerous substances.


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Pulaski & Middleman, L.L.C.

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