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Parents Charge SimplyThick Product Caused Life-Threatening Injuries To Their Child
September 7, 2011
Case is First Personal Injury Lawsuit Following May 2011 FDA Warning Concerning the Breast Milk and Infant Formula Thickening Agent
Wendy Fleishman of the national plaintiffs’ law firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, announced that Jennifer and Shane Umphress of Las Cruces, New Mexico, today filed a personal injury lawsuit against Simply Thick, LLC, and Thermo Pac, LLC, which manufactured and supplied SimplyThick for Simply Thick, LLC. The complaint charges that the Umphress’ daughter suffered life-threatening and permanent injuries caused by SimplyThick.
The complaint is believed to be the first lawsuit filed following a warning issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on May 20, 2011, that SimplyThick may cause the life-threatening condition of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and that the product should not be fed to prematurely-born infants. Soon thereafter, the FDA conducted an inspection of Thermo Pac, LLC’s Stone Mountain, Georgia manufacturing facility, and found numerous deficiencies. On June 4, 2011, the FDA announced that Simply Thick, LLC, was recalling SimplyThick manufactured at the Stone Mountain processing plant.
“Infant food manufacturers owe a duty to parents and babies to prepare and sell safe products,” stated Fleishman. “The complaint charges that Simply Thick failed to properly thermally process and test the safety of its product. As a result, the SimplyThick samples given to the Umphress family were responsible for their daughter developing NEC.”
The Umphress’ daughter was born prematurely on July 31, 2009, after thirty-two weeks of gestation. Her health improved and she was subsequently discharged home six weeks later.
“When our daughter was discharged from the hospital, we were given samples of SimplyThick and instructions on its use in her feeding. We thought SimplyThick would help her swallowing and gain weight,” stated Jennifer Umphress. “Instead, she began experiencing diarrhea, abdominal pains and had trouble breathing. Her health had deteriorated so rapidly that she was airlifted from our local hospital in Las Cruces to Children’s Hospital in Albuquerque.”
The infant was diagnosed with NEC, evidenced by multiple dark lesions in her intestinal track. A rare disease in infants post-hospital discharge, NEC is a life-threatening condition characterized by the inflammation and death of intestinal tissue. NEC has a death rate of 25%, and it can cause severe life-long impairment in children who survive. The infant was re-admitted to the Children’s Hospital for nearly 20 days, where she received two blood transfusions. Her physicians were able to resolve her diarrhea and halt the progression of NEC.
“What happened to our daughter was a nightmare that no child or family should ever experience,” stated Jennifer Umphress. “Her stomach has been left permanently distended. She continues to suffer from NEC symptoms, including having a bloated abdomen area and experiencing frequent pain and constipation.”
The lawsuit was filed today, September 7, 2011, in Georgia state court, where SimplyThick is manufactured. Click here to read the complaint.
Simply Thick Recall: Legal Resources for Parents
Lieff Cabraser is representing parents across America whose infants have suffered severe injuries allegedly due to SimplyThick. Visit http://www.lieffcabraser.com/personal-injury/case/479/simply-thick-recall to learn more about the SimplyThick recall lawsuits.
Or parents may call Lieff Cabraser toll free at 1-800-541-7358 and ask to speak to attorney Fabrice N. Vincent,or call us toll free at 1-888-321-1510 and ask to speak to attorney Paulina do Amaral in our New York office. All inquiries will be handled with the strictest confidentiality and sensitivity. There is no charge or obligation for our review of your case.
About Lieff Cabraser
Recognized as "one of the nation's premier plaintiff's firms" by The American Lawyer magazine, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP is a sixty-plus attorney law firm with offices in San Francisco, New York and Nashville. For the last nine consecutive years, the National Law Journal has selected Lieff Cabraser as one of the top plaintiffs' law firms in America. Learn more about us at www.lieffcabraser.com.
SimplyThick is a registered trademark of Simply Thick, LLC. The use of this trademark is for informational and product identification purposes only. Lieff Cabraser is in no way affiliated with Simply Thick, LLC.
Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP