Schlichter Bogard & Denton Files Ortho Patch Suit for Death of 17 Year Old Against Johnson & Johnson, Inc.

News Release, Schlichter Bogard & Denton

ST. LOUIS - On December 16, 2005 Ms. Bintha Lewis, the guardian and representative of the estate of minor Ashley Lewis, deceased, filed a lawsuit in the St. Louis City Circuit Court against Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson, Inc. along with Miss Lewis' St. Louis City medical doctors and two St. Louis City medical facilities in regard to the death of Miss Lewis as a result of using the Ortho Evra Birth Control Patch. The suit was brought by the firm of Schlichter Bogard & Denton in St. Louis. At the time of her death, Miss Lewis was seventeen years old and had a one year old child.

From approximately August, 2003 until her death, Ashley Lewis was prescribed, purchased and used the Ortho Evra Birth Control Patch. From approximately October 22, 2003, Ashley Lewis made multiple trips to the doctors' offices, clinics and Forest Park Hospital exhibiting signs and symptoms of adverse reactions to the birth control patch until her death on December 17, 2003. According to attorney Jerry Schlichter of Schlichter Bogard & Denton, attorney for Ms. Lewis, "In November, 2005, the FDA required a warning to be put on the Ortho Evra Birth Control Patch stating that it could cause heart attack, blood clots and strokes. This is a terrible tragedy involving a 16 year old who should not have died."

Plaintiff has alleged that Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Johnson & Johnson, Inc. were negligent in that they negligently designed, manufactured, and marketed the Ortho Evra Birth Control Patch that was not reasonably safe and/or failed to adequately warn of the increased the risk of thromboembolitic events when a safer alternative design was available, i.e., a birth control pill. In addition, the suit alleges that the companies were liable as they sold a product that was unreasonably dangerous when put to a reasonably anticipated use.

Further, the suit alleges that the companies committed fraud because they knew that the patch had a four-fold increase of thromboembolitic events as compared to oral birth control pills, yet the companies concealed that information from doctors and other healthcare providers.

Plaintiff seeks actual damages, in addition to $74.5 million dollars in punitive damages against the two companies. Plaintiff also claims that Ortho-McNeil and Johnson & Johnson violated the Merchandising Practice Act and seeks $74.5 million dollars for that violation.

Plaintiff has alleged negligence against the doctors who treated her and Tenet HealthSystems, DI, Inc., for failure to remove Miss Lewis from the patch and failure to properly diagnose and treat her, that failure leading to her death. Plaintiff seeks damages including pain and suffering, economic loss, funeral expenses and loss of companionship for Miss Lewis' estate and her now three year old child.

Schlichter Bogard & Denton is a national leader in representing individuals and others who have been injured or are victims of corporate misconduct. The firm has been nationally recognized for aggressively handling cases on behalf of individuals and as one of the leading firms in the United States in the number of actual successful jury verdicts for plaintiffs in major trials. Among others the firm represents individuals with injuries or death caused by pharmaceutical products, unsafe railroad industry practices and other products. The firm also represents employees and retirees in class actions involving employment pension and retirement plan rights.

For more Information, contact:
Jerome J. Schlichter
Schlichter Bogard & Denton
(314) 621-6115 (office)
(800) 873-5297