Jon Campisi Apr. 25, 2012, 8:08am

A Tennessee woman who alleges her child was born with a cleft palate as a result of the plaintiff having had taken the epilepsy drug Topamax during pregnancy has filed a mass tort claim against the drug’s manufacturer in a Pennsylvania court.

Marlton, N.J. attorney W. Steven Berman, of the firm Napoli, Bern, Ripka, Shkolnik & Associates, filed the civil action April 20 at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas on behalf of Trikenya Lee.

The lawsuit claims that Lee’s child, LaCedrick Lee, who is now 8, was born in the fall of 2003 with a cleft lip and cleft palate.

The suit blames the mother’s ingestion of the drug Topamax, beginning in 1995 and continuing through the present, for the child’s birth defect.

Trikenya Lee takes the drug to combat grand mal seizures, the complaint states.

The mass tort claim accuses the defendant, Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, of strict product liability, negligence, negligent design, constructive fraud, breach of express and implied warranties, gross negligence and malice, and fraud, misrepresentation and suppression.

The lawsuit, filed as a short-form complaint in the master Topamax litigation at Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court, also contains counts of loss of consortium and pecuniary loss, economic loss, and equitable tolling/fraudulent concealment.

The plaintiff seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, interest and delay damages.

Topamax, which Ortho-McNeil-Janssen recalled in April 2011, has been the subject of mass tort litigation ever since.

The drug, which is designed to curb epilepsy, has been known to cause heart, cranial and abdominal birth defects in children who were in the womb while their mothers ingested the drug.


The case ID number is 120402460.


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