Who Can File a Baby Formula Lawsuit?

Who Can File a Baby Formula Lawsuit?

If your premature baby was diagnosed with the serious and sometimes fatal intestinal infection necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) after being fed Enfamil or Similac formulas, you may qualify to bring a baby formula lawsuit against the manufacturers of the products. Studies dating back over 30 years link baby formula derived from cow’s milk to an increased risk of NEC in premature infants. Yet Abbott Laboratories and Mead Johnson, makers of Similac and Enfamil, respectively, never placed information on the labels of their cow’s milk-based infant formulas to warn consumers or healthcare providers of this risk.

Who Qualifies for an NEC Baby Formula Lawsuit

If your child meets the following criteria, you may qualify for a baby formula lawsuit and seek compensation for your medical bills and other damages:

  • Born premature (less than 37 weeks gestation) or low birthweight (less than 5.8 pounds)
  • Diagnosed with NEC
  • Fed Enfamil or Similac baby formula prior to NEC diagnosis

What Baby Formulas Are Involved?  

The following infant and human milk fortifier formulas are named in NEC baby formula lawsuits:

Similac Baby Formulas

  • Similac Special Care
  • Similac Human Milk Fortifier
  • Similac NeoSure
  • Similac Alimentum
  • Similac Alimentum Expert Care
  • Similac Human Milk Fortifier Concentrated Liquid
  • Similac Human Milk Fortifier Powder
  • Similac Liquid Protein Fortifier
  • Similac Special Care 20
  • Similac Special Care 24
  • Similac Special Care 24 High Protein
  • Enfamil Human Milk Fortifier Acidified Liquid
  • Enfamil Human Milk Fortifier Powder
  • Similac Special Care 30
  • Similac Human Milk Fortifier Hydrolyzed Protein-Concentrated Liquid

Enfamil Baby Formulas

  • Enfamil Human Milk Fortifier Acidified Liquid 
  • Enfamil Human Milk Fortifier Powder 
  • Enfacare Powder 
  • Enfamil Human Milk Fortifier Liquid High Protein 
  • Enfamil Milk Fortifier Liquid Standard Protein 
  • Enfamil NeuroPro Enfacare 
  • Enfamil Premature 20 Cal 
  • Enfamil Premature 24 Cal 
  • Enfamil Premature 24 Cal/fl oz HP 
  • Enfamil Premature 30 Cal 
  • Enfamil 24 and DHA & ARA Supplement

How Serious is NEC?

Necrotizing enterocolitis is a life-threatening bacterial infection that attacks the intestines. It mostly affects babies, and premature infants are at much greater risk of developing NEC. The infection can inflame and perforate the intestines, causing bacteria and other material to seep into the abdomen and bloodstream. Many babies can recover fully with prompt medical attention.

However, babies with severe NEC including perforated intestines and bloodstream infections may require blood transfusions, surgery to remove dead bowel tissue, or a colostomy or ileostomy. Up to 50% of infants with NEC die from the disease. Many who do survive deal with lifelong complications.

Symptoms of NEC

Symptoms of NEC usually present within days or a few weeks after birth, and include:

  • Swollen, red, or tender belly
  • Difficulty feeding
  • Slower than expected digestion
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea and/or dark or bloody stools
  • Lack of energy or lethargic
  • Low or unstable body temperature
  • Vomiting (containing bile)
  • Apnea (pauses in breathing)
  • Bradycardia (slowed heart rate)
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)

NEC Complications

Complications that may arise with NEC include:

  • Peritonitis (inflammation of the lining of the abdomen)
  • Intestinal stricture (narrowing of the intestinal wall)
  • Intestinal perforation
  • Short bowel syndrome (if a large portion of the bowel is damaged)
  • Organ failure or damage
  • Liver problems
  • Neurodevelopmental problems
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Restricted growth
  • Sepsis
  • Death

What’s the Connection Between NEC and Premature Babies?

Most babies born prematurely face an uphill battle to survive their first days, weeks, or even months after birth. Because their organs and immune systems are underdeveloped, they are especially vulnerable to infections. They also may struggle to digest certain components of cow’s milk compared to human breastmilk.

In 1990, a group of U.K. researchers found that premature babies fed infant formula were 6 to 10 times more likely to develop NEC than preemies fed human breastmilk, and 3 times more likely to be diagnosed with the disease compared to babies fed a combination of breastmilk and baby formula.

Over the next three decades, more studies backed up those claims, including a 2017 metanalysis of six studies by a group of Canadian researchers involving nearly 900 preemies, finding that premature infants fed cow’s milk-derived formula had a 362% increased risk of developing NEC compared to preemies fed human breastmilk.

How Many NEC Lawsuits Have Been Filed?

Despite scientific evidence raising red flags about the risk of NEC in preterm babies fed infant formula, Mead Johnson (makers of Enfamil) and Abbott Laboratories (makers of Similac) failed to place warnings on the labels of their cow’s milk-based infant formulas.

As parents of premature infants harmed by Enfamil and Similac baby formula became aware of the decades of evidence linking NEC to cow’s milk-based formulas, lawsuits began to mount against the baby formula manufacturers. On April 18, 2022, the Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation consolidated all NEC baby formula lawsuits into a single multi-district litigation (MDL) in Illinois federal court. At last count, 180 cases were pending in the MDL.

Talk to a Lawyer to see if You Qualify to Bring an NEC Baby Formula Lawsuit

If your child was harmed by Enfamil or Similac baby formulas as a preemie, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills and other expenses through an NEC baby formula lawsuit. Contact a mass tort and product liability lawyer at Lawsuit Legal News today at 866-467-0943 or through this online form to schedule a free consultation.


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has represented over 11,000 injury victims and has served as lead counsel in over 1000 lawsuits. Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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