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Edited By : Amy Edel
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Latest Similac Lawsuit Updates

Plaintiffs in Similac baby formula lawsuits allege that Abbott Laboratories was aware its Similac products could potentially cause necrotizing enterocolitis, particularly in babies born prematurely or at a low weight. Plaintiffs filed additional lawsuits after Cronobactor sakazakii infections, which can cause profound internal damage or death, were linked to the Abbott facility in Sturgis, Michigan.

  • April 2024: 518 litigation cases were pending in the NEC MDL 3026.
  • January 2023: 97 lawsuits were pending in the NEC MDL 3026.
  • April 2022: NEC-related baby formula lawsuits filed across the country were consolidated under MDL number 3026 in Illinois.
  • April 2022: The FDA established an Incident Management group to work on supply chain and food safety issues after the voluntary recall.
  • February 2022: Following an FDA Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation investigation, Abbott Laboratories voluntarily recalled powdered formulas produced in Sturgis.
  • September 2021: The CORE network worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as state and local partners to investigate reports of death and illness in infants who had consumed Abbott products.

There are currently many Similac lawsuits underway, originating from two major sources. Most cases stem from NEC-related illness and death, but the number of cases based on serious infections arising from products linked to the Sturgis production facility is growing.

Why Are People Filing Similac Lawsuits?

People are filing Similac lawsuits because infants have become ill from baby formula. Both NEC and Cronobacter sakazakii have been linked to Similac products.

Cronobacter sakazakii and other serious infections are linked to contamination at Abbott’s manufacturing facility. NEC, associated with formula made with dairy, has caused serious illness and death in premature infants. 

Similac and NEC

Similac lawsuits contend that because Abbott knew of the risk of NEC and failed to adequately protect consumers, serious illness and death of newborns occurred. Thus far, there have been no recalls of Similac products because of the risks of NEC.

Claims in Similac NEC Lawsuits:
  • Breach of warranty
  • Failure to warn about the risk of NEC
  • Negligence
  • Product is dangerous and defective

NEC is a gastrointestinal disease that inflames the intestinal lining and can lead to tissue death. According to the National Library of Medicine, there is a significant link between this medical and surgical emergency in newborns and baby formula. Studies indicate cow’s milk-based formulas such as Similac increase NEC risk in premature infants.

Similac lawsuits cite many of those studies in their claims. Plaintiffs contend that Abbott Laboratories either didn’t do enough to protect the public from the potential dangers or deliberately misled the public into thinking their products were safe.

Similac and Cronobacter Sakazakii Infections

There are currently 58 active lawsuits pertaining to products produced at Abbott’s Sturgis facility. Many of the claims involved personal injury and/or wrongful death. Abbott Laboratories is also facing a Department of Justice-led criminal investigation.

Claims in Similac Cronobacter Lawsuits:
  • Abbott records indicated the company previously destroyed contaminated formula because of bacterial contamination, but didn’t warn the public.
  • Violations of health and safety standards led to avoidable product contamination.

Cronobacter bacteria can infect the bloodstream and central nervous system, resulting in developmental and motor impairments, brain abscesses and death. Between December 2021 and March 2022, the FDA and the CDC investigated reports of infant illness and death related to Abbott baby formula products.

Following the voluntary recall and plant shutdown, the U.S. faced a baby formula shortage, which disproportionately affected lower-income families. Although the shortage was originally because of the ongoing disruptions in the global supply chain, the closure of the Sturgis plant dramatically exacerbated the shortage.

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Similac Baby Formulas Named in Lawsuits

Similac products named in Cronobacter lawsuits may include all recalled Similac, Alimentum and EleCareproducts from the Sturgis manufacturing plant. The FDA reports these products can be identified with their multi digit number on the bottom of the container.

The numbers to look for:
  • Begin with 22 through 37
  • Contains K8, SH or Z2
  • Have an expiration date of April 1, 2022 or after.

NEC Similac lawsuits include formulas that contain cow’s milk. Even some of the company’s fortified human milk products contain cow’s milk.

Formulas names in NEC cases include:
  • Similac Alimentum
  • Similac Alimentum Expert Care
  • Similac Human Milk Fortifier
  • Similac Human Milk Fortifier Concentrated Liquid
  • Similac Human Milk Fortifier Hydrolyzed Protein Concentrated Liquid
  • Similac Human Milk Fortifier Powder
  • Similac Liquid Protein Fortifier
  • Similac NeoSure
  • Similac Special Care
  • Similac Special Care 20
  • Similac Special Care 24
  • Similac Special Care 24 High Protein
  • Similac Special Care 30

The best way to determine if a formula you purchased and used is included in Similac lawsuits is to consult an experienced lawyer currently handling baby formula lawsuits. They can review your receipts and other documents to confirm if cases are being accepted for a specific formula.

Who Can File a Similac Lawsuit?

Families or caregivers of premature infants who developed NEC or a Cronobacter sakazakii infection after consuming a Similac product may qualify to file a lawsuit. Infants who received the baby formula in a hospital or consumed it at home are both qualified.

An experienced attorney can assess your eligibility to file a suit. Keep all medical records, purchase receipts and any leftover product as evidence.

Mead Johnson’s baby formula brand Enfamil is also currently subject to NEC-related lawsuits. Parents and caregivers of babies who developed NEC after consuming an Enfamil product may be eligible for Enfamil NEC lawsuits. Similac and Enfamil lawsuits are both included in MDL 3026.

What to Expect When Filing a Similac Lawsuit

The discovery process in a Similac lawsuit may be lengthy. It’s crucial to find an experienced attorney with whom you can comfortably work. Most experienced legal firms will typically offer free consultations.

An experienced lawyer can help you:
  • Assess eligibility and assemble necessary documentation
  • Determine the type of suit for your case
  • File your suit
  • Negotiate settlements or take your case to trial

The courts will distribute any payments deriving from settlements and verdicts to your legal counsel. Your lawyer will then dispense the funds to you.

Please seek the advice of a qualified professional before making decisions about your health or finances.
Last Modified: April 1, 2024

14 Cited Research Articles

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  1. U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. (2024, April 1). MDL Statistics Report - Distribution of Pending MDL Dockets by District. Retrieved from https://www.jpml.uscourts.gov/sites/jpml/files/Pending_MDL_Dockets_By_Actions_Pending-April-1-2024.pdf
  2. Whyte, L et al. (2023, January 23). Abbott Under Federal Criminal Investigation Over Baby Formula. Retrieved from https://www.wsj.com/articles/abbott-under-criminal-investigation-over-baby-formula-11674255871
  3. Reuters. (2023, January 23). Abbott faces U.S. criminal probe over baby formula, Wall Street Journal Reports. Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/abbott-faces-criminal-probe-over-baby-formula-wsj-2023-01-20/
  4. U. S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. (2023, January 17). MDL Statistic Report – Distribution of Pending MDL Dockets by District. Retrieved from https://www.jpml.uscourts.gov/sites/jpml/files/Pending_MDL_Dockets_By_District-January-17-2023.pdf
  5. Abbott. (2022, October). Recall Notice. Retrieved from https://www.similacrecall.com/us/en/home.html
  6. Ginglen, J. & Butki, N. (2022, August 8). Necrotizing Enterocolitis. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK513357/
  7. Ablon, M. (2022, July 29). Similac led to premature baby’s death, Charlotte mom claims in lawsuit. Retrieved from https://www.wcnc.com/article/news/health/charlotte-mom-abbott-baby-formula-similac-death/275-f70a93b9-21a8-433c-b85b-5d9e5ea44b0e
  8. Riley, L. (2022, June 10). New documents show more claims of baby formula illness and death. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2022/06/10/baby-formula-deaths-abbott/
  9. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. (2022, May 24). Cronobacter and Powdered Infant Formula Investigation. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/cronobacter/outbreaks/infant-formula.html
  10. Berger, E. (2022, May 18). Why is there a baby formula shortage in the US, and what can parents do? Retrieved from https://theguardian.com/us-news/2022/may/18/baby-formula-shortage-why-is-there-none-what-to-do-causes-explained
  11. FDA. (2022, February 17). Abbott Voluntarily Recalls Powder Formulas Manufactured at One Plant. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/safety/recalls-market-withdrawals-safety-alerts/abbott-voluntarily-recalls-powder-formulas-manufactured-one-plant
  12. FDA. (February 2022). FDA Investigation of Cronobacter Infections: Powdered Infant Formula (February 2022). Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/food/outbreaks-foodborne-illness/fda-investigation-cronobacter-infections-powdered-infant-formula-february-2022
  13. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Necrotizing Enterocolitis. Retrieved from https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/nec
  14. FDA. (n.d.). Cronobacter sakazakii. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/food/foodborne-pathogens/cronobacter-sakazakii