Williams Kherkher Law Firm Wins $38M in Damages for Client in Landmark Depakote Case

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Jury awards $15M in compensatory and $23M in punitive damages. Williams Kherkher Law Firm is pleased with the outcome for their client, the Schmidt family.

On May 27, a St. Louis jury added $23 million in punitive damages to the $15 million they earlier awarded a 12-year-old girl, finding Abbott Labs didn’t do enough to warn doctors about birth defect risks. The case is Schmidt v. Abbott, CA No. 1222-CC-0247901, Missouri Circuit Court (St. Louis).

According to court documents, after the plaintiff's birth mother took the anti-seizure drug Depakote, the plaintiff was born with spina bifida. Spina bifida is a condition where a baby’s spinal column doesn’t close all the way when the baby is in the womb, potentially causing health problems.

"(Our client) has physical disabilities and intellectual challenges", plaintiff’s attorney John Eddie Williams Jr. said.

John Boundas, a partner in Williams Kherkher Hart Boundas, effectively convinced the jury that "Abbott underplayed the risk of birth defects, making it appear that Depakote had about the same level as other anti-epileptic drugs available at the time when in reality it was the most dangerous." According to court documents, Abbott should have told doctors to try all other drugs before Depakote to patients who were women of child-bearing age.

The New England Journal of Medicine published a study in 2010 tying Depakote to increased risks of six different birth defects, including spina bifida. The study can be found in the following link: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM200104123441504#t=articleTop

Williams Kherkher will be trying more Depakote cases against Abbott.

About Williams Kherkher
Williams Kherkher is a nationally recognized trial law firm, representing clients across the country in mass torts, personal injury and commercial litigation. Williams Kherkher welcomes the opportunity to work with other law firms in joint ventures.

Media Contact: Paul Cobb
Phone: 713-230-2263
email: pcobb(at)williamskherkher(dot)com

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