Faraci Lange, LLP has successfully closed a complicated pediatric product liability case for a mother and her child, who was burned by an unsafe laxative product. Before the claim began, the mother was accused of child abuse, and Child Protective Services (CPS) agents got involved, furthering the case’s complexity. We are proud to announce that we were able to secure a hard-fought $25,000 settlement, and we opted to waive our attorney fees to ensure our client kept as much of the settlement as possible.
Dangerous Pediatric Product Leads to Child Abuse Accusations
We represented Jane and Timmy, whose names have been changed for the sake of anonymity. At about 33-months old, Timmy was experiencing the symptoms of constipation, so Jane bought a bottle of Little Tots Laxative Drops, which was advertised as a safe way to alleviate constipation symptoms in infants and toddlers. After applying two doses of the medicine, Jane put Timmy in a diaper and allowed him to get some sleep. In the morning, though, she noticed that he had redness around his buttocks and groin, which she first blamed on diarrhea in his diaper.
Later in the day, the redness worsened, producing popped blisters, and Jane called an ambulance to take Timmy to a nearby hospital. She informed the medical providers about the situation and that she thought the laxative might have caused a severe diaper rash. Despite her explanation, the treating physician noted that Timmy was likely burned due to being “immersed in hot water” and “not […] an allergic reaction to the ointment […]” In accordance with typical procedures, the hospital notified the CPS about what could be a case of child abuse or neglect. A few days later, the CPS decided to provide Timmy’s dad custody in his separate household after Jane was arrested and targeted by a CPS investigation for possible criminal behaviors.
Charges, Criminal Proceedings & Consequences
As the first order of business, the court ordered that Jane could not contact Timmy or her younger child until the criminal charges were resolved. It would not be until two months later that she would be able to visit her children while under supervision. Needless to say, Jane was emotionally devastated by the sudden separation from her young children. The arrest and child abuse charges filed against her also automatically placed Jane on the New York State Central Register of Child Abuse, which was incredibly problematic given her occupation as a teacher’s aide.
Jane worked with a public defender to clear her name of the criminal charges. Her criminal attorney was able to speak with a Yale University School of Medicine doctor who had previously written about the burn-like injuries that can be caused by certain infant laxative ointment products. The doctor wrote and signed an affidavit to officially say it was his expert opinion that Timmy was burned by the Little Tots product, not hot water. Presented with this evidence, the court dismissed the charges against her.
Suing Little Tots for Damages
Jane came to Faraci Lange, LLP in Rochester to bring an injury claim against Little Tots for the pain and hardship caused to her and her family. We first sought to hold Little Tots accountable through strict product liability rules based on the fact that the laxative product had no warning about potential side effects as severe as a chemical burn. There was also no warning that such burns could be mistaken as a burn caused by child abuse, despite the Yale doctor and other medical professionals having written about such injuries. We also alleged that Little Tots breached the warranty it owes all consumers by selling a product that was not safe for the general public.
Our attorneys demanded damages to pay for all medical care required by Timmy, as well as the pain and suffering he experienced from the chemical burns. We also demanded damages to acknowledge the hardship and reputation loss that Jane had experienced due to being separated from her children and being placed on a child abuse registry that can be accessed by the public.
Ultimately, we were able to negotiate a $25,000 settlement amount, which paid $5,000 to Jane and $20,000 to Timmy. About $4,000 of the money provided to Timmy was used to close an outstanding Medicaid lien following his medical treatments. We also waived our attorney fees.
Would you like to know more about our services as trusted product liability attorneys in Rochester? You can contact us online or call (888) 997-4110.