Jury Awards $15 Million in Depakote Verdict

Posted on behalf of James Lynch on June 21, 2017  in Class Action News. Updated on February 24, 2022

jury area in courtroonOn June 9, a federal jury in East St. Louis, Illinois, awarded $15 million to a California mother who claimed her son developed a birth defect because she took Depakote while pregnant.

The Depakote lawsuit was filed in 2015 against Abbott Laboratories, from which the current drug maker AbbVie was spun out of. It claimed that the company knew and failed to warn about the potential risks of birth defects in unborn children in mothers who took the drug while pregnant.

The mother took the drug to help her deal with her bipolar disorder while she was pregnant. As a result, her child, now ten years old, was born with spina bifida and has undergone 12 surgeries. He is now confined to a wheelchair.

The compensation award will help cover the boy’s medical bills and future care. The jury declined the family’s request for punitive damages for AbbVie’s mishandling of the drug.

You too may be entitled to compensation if you took Depakote while pregnant and your child was born with a birth defect. Contact our experienced New Jersey defective drug lawyers to learn more.

FDA Warnings

Depakote has been available on the market since 1983 to treat conditions like bipolar disorder, seizures, epilepsy and migraines.

However, studies linking Depakote to birth defects prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2006 to require stronger warnings about use of the drug during pregnancy.

In 2013, the FDA warned that the use of Depakote and other related drugs to treat migraines in pregnant women can decrease the IQ scores of unborn children.

It required stronger warnings be added to the drug’s label and changed the drug’s pregnancy category for migraine use from “D” (the potential benefit to the mother is acceptable despite risks) to “X” (the risk of use among pregnant women “clearly outweighs” any possible benefits of the drug).

Other Depakote Cases

This defective product lawsuit is just one of approximately 700 cases that are currently pending against AbbVie regarding Depakote birth defects. It is also the second to be awarded damages by a jury.

  • In 2015, a jury awarded $38 million to a girl with spina bifida, including $23 million in punitive damages.
  • Another case from 2016 settled for an undisclosed amount while the jury was deliberating.

However, AbbVie has won three trials in federal court. In those cases, the jury found that the company had adequately warned doctors about the risks of birth defects.

Contact Our Attorneys if Your Child Was Injured After You Took Depakote

If you took Depakote while you were pregnant and your child born with a birth defect, you may have legal options.

Contact a personal injury lawyer at our firm to find out if you are entitled to file a lawsuit. Compensation could help you cover the costs associated with your child’s injuries.

We offer free, no obligation consultations and do not get paid unless we recover compensation for you.

Call (800) 518-0508 today.

* Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.

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