Infant NEC Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Against Similac, Enfamil Baby Formula Makers

The premature infant died a month after developing NEC on a Similac and Enfamil formula diet, which baby formula makers maintained was safe.

The makers of Similac and Enfamil face a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the mother of a premature infant diagnosed with NEC (necrotizing enterolitis) after being fed the cow’s milk-based baby formula products while still in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

The complaint (PDF) was filed last week in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California by Lashanae Littles, on behalf of herself and her deceased child, Makai Sanders, presenting claims against Abbott Laboratories, Inc., the makers of Similac Special Care, and Mead Johnson & Company, the makers of Enfamil Human Milk Fortifier and Enfacare Powder.

Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a devastating disease which mostly impacts premature infants, where the wall of the intestine is invaded by bacteria, leading to destruction of the bowel and often requiring emergency surgery while the baby is still in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). This disorder occurs when the walls of the intestines are invaded by bacteria, leading destruction of the bowel and often requiring emergency surgery while a premature baby is still in the NICU.


Was your premature infant diagnosed with NEC after being fed Similac or Enfamil? Settlement benefits may be available.


Studies have shown that cow’s milk formula products like Similac and Enfamil cause NEC for premature babies at substantially higher rates than is seen among babies fed breast milk or donor milk.

The use of these products is exactly what Littles says led to the death of her child, Makai, who was born prematurely on Christmas Day in 2020 with a birth weight of only four pounds and two ounces.

The lawsuit indicates Makai was put in NICU and intravenously fed Similac Special Case 20Fe, Enfamil HMF High protein, Enfamil Premature, and Enfamil Premium during that time. However, a month after being placed in the NICU, the newborn was diagnosed with NEC, and died from medical complications associated with the condition on January 27, 2021.

Littles’ claim, like a growing number of similarly tragic Similac NEC lawsuits and Enfamil NEC lawsuits now being pursued by dozens of families nationwide, indicates that her child developed the condition as a direct result of the formula products, which were promoted as safe for premature infants, despite the known risks.

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Baby Formula Lawsuits

Premature infants fed Similac or Enfamil cow's milk formula faced increased risk of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) or wrongful death.


“Defendants have designed powerful misleading marketing campaigns to deceive parents into believing that: (1) cow’s milk-based products are safe, including for preterm infants; (2) cow’s milk-based products are equal, or even superior, substitutes to breast milk; (3) cow’s milk-based products are necessary for proper growth and development of preterm infants; and (4) physicians consider Defendants’ cow’s milk-based products a first choice,” the lawsuit states. “This marketing scheme is employed despite Defendants knowing of and failing to warn of the extreme risk of NEC and death that cow’s milk-based products pose to preterm infants like Baby Sanders.”

As additional families learn that baby formula caused NEC for premature infants born in prior years, the size and scope of the litigation is expected to continue to increase, with hundreds of claims ultimately expected throughout the federal court system.


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