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Tylenol Liver Failure Lawsuit Removed to Federal Court

A product liability lawsuit brought against Johnson & Johnson and it’s McNeil unit by a Florida woman who suffered liver failure from Tylenol has been removed to federal court.

The complaint (PDF) was originall filed in Florida state court by Charlotte Lee Thompson in February, but late last month Johnson & Johnson had the case removed to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida based on diversity of citizenship between the company and the plaintiff.

According to allegations raised in the Tylenol lawsuit, Thompson developed liver failure in February 2008, after taking Tylenol for several days. Although she indicates that she took Tylenol according to the recommended dose limits, Thompson indicates that her injury was caused by the toxic side effects of the acetaminophen contained in the popular pain killer.

Thompson was hospitalized on an emergency basis at Shands Jocksonville Hospital on February 18, 2008, as a result of severe liver damage. She remained hospitalized for more than 10 days with liver failure from Tylenol, according to the complaint.

Side effects of acetaminophen have been linked to an increased risk of liver injury and liver failure when the medication is used at high doses.

The FDA has indicated that acetaminophen overdose is a leading cause of liver failure in the U.S., resulting in more than 50,000 emergency room visits, 25,000 hospitalizations and over 450 deaths annually. < In recent years, a number of Tylenol liver failure lawsuits have been brought in state and federal courts by individuals who allege that the medication contained inadequate warnings about the risks associated with the medication. Most of the complaints allege that the drug maker failed to warn about the risks of liver failure from overuse of Tylenol or provide information about the consequences of taking multiple medications that contain acetaminophen.

Thompson accuses Johnson & Johnson and McNeil Consumer Healthcare of manufacturing, marketing and distributing a defective product, failure to warn and breach of warranty. She is seeking compensatory damages for medical expenses, economic losses as well as physical and emotional injuries. The lawsuit also calls for punitive damages to be leveled against the defendants.

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