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The New York Times Calls Out Abbot Labs for Suppressing the Scandal of Harmful Powdered Baby Formula

This week, The New York Times published an illuminating article, “How Abbott Kept Sick Babies From Becoming a Scandal.” The article’s author describes how multinational company Abbott Laboratories and its lawyers have used “scorched-earth tactics” to keep the poisoning of infants who ingested the company’s powdered formulas hidden and ignored.

According to the article, the law firm that represents Abbott is well accustomed to intensely fighting with other law firms that also represent massive corporations. The playing field has not been nearly so level, however, in cases of lawsuits filed after infants who were fed Abbott’s powdered formula developed Cronobacter infections (which can cause meningitis, severe brain damage, or death). In these cases, the NYT says, “when the resources and tactics of Big Law are brought to bear against poor families and their overwhelmed lawyers, the results tend to be lopsided.”

The “scored-earth tactics” the NYT describes are akin to a military strategy that aims to destroy anything and everything that might be useful to the enemy. With Abbott’s prior baby formula cases, the company’s law firm “use[d] their mastery of the legal system to grind down — and in some cases attack — plaintiffs who have limited money and time on their hands,” The New York Times reports.

“Sadly, the actions of Abbott and its lawyers detailed in this article did not surprise us,” said Andy Childers, an LPR attorney who has been appointed as Co-Lead Counsel in the recently established multidistrict litigation (MDL) No. 3026.  This new MDL includes and consolidates lawsuits against Abbott for preterm infants who developed necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) after consuming Abbott’s cow’s milk-based infant formulas and fortifiers. These are distinct from the baby formula lawsuits in the NYT article, but they still urge the same action:

“We knew exactly who we would be dealing with when we started this MDL, and we are not intimidated.  We will fight however is needed to ensure Abbott is held accountable for the devastating injuries its products have caused our clients and their families,” Childers said.