Mother Files Similac Infant Formula Lawsuit Over Preterm Newborn’s NEC Death

Plaintiff's child was immediately placed on Similac infant formula and died of NEC complications at less than two weeks of age

Abbott Laboratories faces an infant formula lawsuit brought by a Tennessee mother, whose newborn died from necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), after the cow’s milk-based Similac Special Care 20 and Similac Special Care 24 formula was fed to the child shortly after a preterm birth.

The complaint (PDF) was filed by Martina Moye in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on November 1, pursuing claims on behalf of herself and her deceased infant child, Maunie Moye.

For decades, Abbott Laboratories and other infant formula manufacturers have marketed cow’s milk-based formula products specifically for preterm newborns, despite a growing body of medical research that the products may cause vulnerable infants to develop NEC, which is a devastating ailment that causes portions of the intestines to become inflamed or die. This often results in the need for emergency surgery while the preterm newborn is still in the NICU us, and can result in death or long-term complications for the remainder of the child’s life.

According to the lawsuit, Maunie Moye was born prematurely in September 2017 and was fed Similac infant formula products shortly after her birth, which resulted in the development of NEC only a few days later. The infant died from the NEC complications at only 12 days old, and Moye alleges Abbott knew about the risks associated with their cow’s milk infant formula long before her daughter was fed their products in 2017.

“At the time Baby Maunie was fed Defendant’s products, Similac Special Care 20 and Similac Special Care 24, the science had clearly demonstrated to Defendant that these products cause and greatly increase the likelihood that a baby will develop NEC, leading to severe injury and often death,” Moye’s lawsuit states. “Despite the scientific consensus that Defendant’s cow’s milk-based products present a dire threat to the health and development of preterm infants, Defendant has made no changes to its products or the products’ packaging, guidelines, instructions, or warnings. Instead, Defendant has continued to sell its unreasonably dangerous products to unsuspecting parents and healthcare providers, generating huge profits as a result.”

Moye’s case will be consolidated with dozens of Similac lawsuits and Enfamil lawsuits pending against Abbott and Mead Johnson, which have been centralized in the federal court system before U.S. District Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer in the Northern District of Illinois, for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings.

November 2022 NEC Infant Formula Lawsuit Update

There are currently at least 106 NEC lawsuits pending in the federal court system, each raising similar allegations that manufacturers of cow’s milk-based infant formula placed their desire for profits before consumers safety, by specifically marketing formula products for use by preterm newborns, without providing warnings to families or the medical community. However, as lawyers continue to investigate and file claims in the coming year, it is ultimately expected that several thousand lawsuits will be brought by families of infants diagnosed with NEC.

Given similar questions raised in the lawsuits, Judge Pallmeyer is expected to identify a final group of 12 “bellwether” lawsuits involving NEC caused by infant formula in November 2022, which will go through case-specific discovery and be prepared for a series of early trial dates in the federal multidistrict litigation (MDL).

While the outcome of these early trial dates will not be binding on other families, they are expected to have a large impact on any eventual settlement negotiations that Abbott or Mead Johnson may engage in to avoid the need for each individual case to be scheduled for a jury trial.

1 Comments

  • MissNovember 11, 2022 at 12:27 am

    My daughter supposedly had medical NEC twice in her first 5 months of life. The thing is, she was NPO and never drank breast milk OR formula until AFTER she was 5 months old. Her complications with "NEC" were after she started eating. I'm just saying she had "NEC" of unknown etiology twice - prior to ever having the formula or anything. I'm interested in how this pans out. My theory is tha[Show More]My daughter supposedly had medical NEC twice in her first 5 months of life. The thing is, she was NPO and never drank breast milk OR formula until AFTER she was 5 months old. Her complications with "NEC" were after she started eating. I'm just saying she had "NEC" of unknown etiology twice - prior to ever having the formula or anything. I'm interested in how this pans out. My theory is that NEC comes from an undiagnosed congenital parasite or hospital acquired contamination and not from formula. However, the premature babies were all inpatient. We cannot rule out NICU contaminations, non-sterile equipment, supplies, cotton bedding, water, heaters, hvac or for those who have been operated on - contaminated silk used for sutures. Either way, I believe it's the hospitals trying to cover their own tracks and make NEC a formula thing when plenty of babies get NEC from other "sources of unknown etiology". Actually, when you consider childbirth and use of steroid epidural, which can trigger disseminated nematode infections - its more likely the children or mother were affected from the epidural or steroid use. Even in topical application can cause disseminated strongyloidiasis. It's something the doctors don't tell you. In kids like mine, who had nec twice of unknown etiology, it's more likely a hospital acquired infection or neglect whether congenital or not. The formula may need better testing. But it doesn't exclusively cause NEC. My daughter is living proof. Please reach out with your email if you'd like to discuss.

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