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Premature Baby Formula Lawsuit Update: Oct. 2022

Timely Insights on Laws, Issues and New Developements
Parents whose premature babies were diagnosed with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) from eating Similac or Enfamil baby formulas are filing lawsuits against the makers.

Why are People Filing Baby Formula Lawsuits?

Many premature babies fed infant formula in the hospital developed NEC. Parents of those babies are now filing lawsuits against Abbott Laboratories and Mead Johnson for their failure to warn parents and medical providers about risks associated with their baby formulas. Abbott made Similac; Mead Johnson made Enfamil.

NEC – Necrotizing enterocolitis – is a serious gastrointestinal condition that can affect premature and medically vulnerable infants. The NEC Society says NEC causes intestinal inflammation that leads to serious complications. Many babies fully recover from NEC, but it can kill an infant, or cause lifelong neurological and nutritional problems.

Reports since the 1990s show premature babies fed cow’s milk-based formulas face significantly higher risks of developing NEC than babies fed only human milk. Those risks are lower in breastfed babies than those fed a human milk/formula combination.

Medical Malpractice Cases Filed

Many medical malpractice lawsuits have been filed against the doctors who prescribed Similac and Enfamil. A growing number of parents are now filing product liability lawsuits. They are suing the companies that make the baby formulas.

NEC, Sepsis, Failure to Thrive

Parents in these suits allege that Abbott Laboratories and Mead Johnson knew, or should have known, about potential risks linked with their products. The plaintiffs allege that the component of cow’s milk called bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) can cause NEC, sepsis, failure to thrive, or other dangers to premie babies.* They also argue that the companies failed to learn more about the potential dangers of their products before marketing them. In addition, they say the companies ignored warnings from medical groups.

Plaintiffs also argue that Abbott Laboratories and Mead Johnson marketed their products as safe and beneficial for premature infants in spite of the potential risks. The makers issued no warnings about NEC as a side effect of baby formula, and they didn’t offer proper instructions or guidelines for their products’ use.

Abbot Laborites and Mead Johnson deny their formulas cause NEC and other complications. They claim gastrointestinal disease is “naturally occurring” and can develop in premature babies fed breast milk. They also argue that claims regarding premature infant formulas are not permitted by the Infant Formula Act. Established in 1980, that Act was meant to assure all infant formula is nutritionally adequate.

*Baby Formula Brands potentially involved in Similac and Enfamil Lawsuits

These baby formula brands are named in Similac and Enfamil lawsuits:

  • 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
  • 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

Damages in Toxic Baby Formula Lawsuits

Compensation plaintiffs seek in baby formula lawsuits may include:

  • Compensation for the injured child and parents
  • Medical care costs past, current, future
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost income and diminished earnings
  • Loss of consortium, or compensation from intangible benefits such as care, nurturing, affection lost
  • Wrongful death and survival actions

NEC Baby Formula Lawsuit Qualifications

Eligibility to file or join a Similac or Enfamil baby formula lawsuit must meet certain criteria:

  1. Infant born prematurely
  2. Premature infant ingested Similac or Enfamil while hospitalized
  3. Premature infant received a diagnosis of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), or abnormal bleeding, bacterial infection, bloody stool, bowel amputation, fatigue, meningitis, salmonella, sepsis, shortness of breath, or the infant died.

Baby Formula Lawsuit Update

As of October 26, 2022, attorneys have moved to establish a schedule and protocol for bellwether test case selection in the infant formula NEC class action lawsuit. Plaintiffs and defendants have provided a judge with 66 filed cases that the court could randomly pick from to become the first NEC lawsuit to see trial.

Twelve bellwether discovery cases will be chosen from this first group for a pretrial discovery phase that will prepare the way for initial bellwether trials. After the plaintiffs and defendants each select four cases, the court will randomly pick the remaining four cases for this group of 12. That action is scheduled to be completed by November 23, 2022.


  • Infant Formula Lawsuit (NEC) Necrotizing Enterocolitis
  • Abbott recalls Powder Baby Food Formulas
  • Studies show Premie Baby Food Formula raises Necrotizing Enterocolitis Risk
  • Premie Baby Formula Cases grow in Country ranked 33rd in Infant Mortality

by Matthews & Associates

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