J&J, others seek transfer of Infants' Tylenol death case to federal court

By Jon Campisi | Nov 29, 2012

Lawyers representing a host of drug companies being sued by the father of a 4-year-old

Lawyers representing a host of drug companies being sued by the father of a 4-year-old

boy who allegedly died as a result of taking children’s Tylenol are seeking to transfer the case from state to federal court.

David F. Abernethy, Melissa A. Graff and Meredith Reinhardt, of the Philadelphia law firm Drinker Biddle & Reath, filed a Notice of Removal with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania seeking to move the pending litigation from the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas to the federal venue.

The lawsuit was initially filed Oct. 31 in state court by Philadelphia attorneys Joseph L. Messa Jr. and Thomas N. Sweeney of Messa & Associates.

The plaintiff in the case, Niagara Falls, N.Y., resident Shawn S. Arndt, claims that his son, Joshua, was killed by defective Infants’ Tylenol.

The lawsuit shows that Shawn Arndt, a Nigara Falls police officer, purchased a bottle of Infants’ Tylenol on Nov. 2, 2009, from a local pharmacy.

The boy was given one dose of the medication and within minutes became unresponsive with blood oozing from his nose and mouth.

Emergency medical workers rushed young Joshua to the hospital, where he was soon pronounced dead.

The allegation is that the companies that made and sold the pharmaceutical concealed from the consuming public the health risks related to the product.

The defendants continued to put the drug on the market even after learning that the Food and Drug Administration was receiving complaint after complaint involving illness and death linked to the product, the suit states.

“Johnson & Johnson and McNeil-PPC, Inc.’s executives’ conscious decision to keep contaminated drugs on the market and their concealment of the dangers of their products killed four year-old Joshua Arndt,” the complaint states.

The suit names as defendants Johnson & Johnson, McNeil-PPC Inc., Johnson & Johnson Sales & Logistics Co., Tops Holding Corp., Tops Markets LLC, Peter B. Luther, Ashley A. McEvoy, Gary Benedict, Edwin K. Kuffner, Lorraine K. Bailer, William C. Weldon, Colleen Goggins, Rosemary Crane, Inmar Inc., Carolina Supply Chain Services LLC and Carolina Logistics Services LLC.

The individuals named as defendants in the complaint are various higher-ups with the pharmaceutical companies.

In the defense removal notice, attorneys for the drug companies argue that the case belongs in federal court because there is diversity in citizenship among the parties and because the amount in controversy exceeds the jurisdictional limits at a Pennsylvania state court.

The plaintiff’s complaint contains counts of strict liability, recklessness, negligence, breach of warranties, negligent infliction of emotional distress, civil conspiracy, aiding and abetting, and violations of consumer protection laws.

The state case ID number is 12100415 and the federal case number is 2:12-cv-06633-GP. 

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