NEC Baby Formula Lawsuit Lawyer

March 16, 2024 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman

Recently, startling studies have emerged showing a link between specific brands of cow's milk-based baby formula and a potentially life-threatening health condition in premature infants. If your premature baby developed Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) after ingesting cow's milk-based formulas from Similac or Enfamil, contact an NEC baby formula lawsuit lawyer at Dolman Law Group to learn more.

Depending on the specifics of your situation, you might have the legal right to bring a product liability claim or NEC baby formula lawsuit against various companies or medical providers. Sadly, if your child succumbed to NEC, you might qualify for a wrongful death claim as well.

Why You Should Choose the NEC Lawsuit Attorneys at Dolman Law Group to Fight for You and Your Family

The top-rated product liability and personal injury lawyers at Dolman Law Group are dedicated to protecting those who cannot protect themselves. When a tiny baby is seriously harmed by a food product, we can't sit by and watch them suffer along with their family. During a free consultation, we can explain the process of filing an NEC lawsuit, including Similac NEC infant formula lawsuits (if your infant ingested Similar) and Enfamil baby formula lawsuits (if your child received Enfamil), and other possible legal options.

Personal Injury Lawyer
Matt Dolman, Baby Formula Attorney

Dolman Law Group is a nationally recognized, award-winning team of lawyers who have extensive experience litigating against companies that sell dangerous products, prescriptions, or medical devices. If your baby developed NEC after receiving Similac or Enfamil products, our baby formula lawyers would be honored to investigate a potential claim on your behalf.

In addition to investigating claims regarding NEC from infant formula lawsuits, Dolman Law Group has also fought against the dangerous actions of the companies that make Zantac, CPAP Machines, Firefighting Foam Paraquat, Elmiron, Roundup Weedkiller, and many more.

This means we challenge and litigate against some of the biggest companies and corporations in the world, such as Uber, Lyft, Johnson & Johnson, 3M, Dupont, Geico, State Farm, Progressive, Dow, Bayer, Unilever, Pfizer, and Procter & Gamble.

Call the NEC baby formula lawyers at Dolman Law Group today for a free consultation and case evaluation at 866-481-5347, or click the button below to contact us online. We represent clients nationwide in NEC baby formula lawsuits.

Infant Formulas Enfamil and Similac Have Been Linked to Life-Threatening Conditions for Premature Babies or Preterm Infants

  • Similac - NEC Baby Formula Lawsuit - Dolman Law GroupWas your baby born prematurely?
  • Were they fed Enfamil, Similac, or another formula made from cow’s milk while in the NICU?
  • Did your medical provider recommend feeding a cow's-milk formula to your premature infant?
  • Was your baby diagnosed with the intestinal disease Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC), and are you facing the devastating complications of NEC?

You may be able to file an NEC baby formula lawsuit to recover financial compensation for your family. Contact Dolman Law Group right away for a free consultation.

Preemies and those with low birth weights often need extra nutrition to boost low weight and address developmental issues. Most hospitals, nurses, and doctors recommend that preterm babies with low birth weight receive formula if they can't breastfeed. Tragically, this recommendation may cause more harm than good.

Studies have begun to show that some cow’s milk-based infant formulas have been linked to a potentially deadly condition. Specifically, cow's milk has been linked to an increased risk of developing a gastrointestinal disease called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). 

This condition can cause the intestinal wall to become inflamed and later destroyed. NEC can lead to infection, blood poisoning, and even the death of premature infants. The rate of NEC in premature infants is troubling.

Even more troubling is that both Enfamil and Similac baby formulas are still being provided to infants without warning parents of the increased risk of NEC. The two major corporations involved, Abbott Laboratories (the manufacturer of Similac) and Mead Johnson (Enfamil's manufacturer), have failed to warn consumers about the increased risk that certain infants may develop NEC after consuming their products.

The Background of Similac & Enfamil NEC Baby Formula Lawsuits

Litigation linking Similac and Enfamil to an increased NEC risk in premature babies is still in the early stages. More parents are filing new lawsuits against Abbott Laboratories and Mead Johnson in courts every day. The cases are mainly product liability lawsuits based on the theories of strict product liability and negligent failure to warn the public of the increased risk a preemie may develop NEC after ingesting these formulas.

NEC Baby Formula Lawsuit Basics

Enfamil - NEC Formula Lawsuit - Dolman Law Group

NEC baby formula lawsuits continue to grow daily. All pending Enfamil and Similac lawsuits in federal courts have been consolidated into Multi-District Litigation (MDL) to help streamline the litigation process. 

MDL is a form of mass tort product liability litigation – like a traditional class action – but the cases remain separate and only consolidated for pretrial discovery purposes. Federal NEC lawsuits are consolidated in the United States Federal Court before the Honorable Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer of the Northern District of Illinois.

NEC lawsuits may well be on their way to achieving a global settlement as they move closer to bellwether trials. The NEC baby formula lawsuits are important because of the extremely serious damages inflicted on the victims.  We feel confident that these cow-based formulas greatly increase the risk that a preemie may develop NEC. The legal causes of action in these mass tort lawsuits include:

  • Intentional misrepresentation
  • Negligent misrepresentation
  • Breach of warranty
  • Wrongful death lawsuits for premature babies that die from NEC
  • Negligence
  • Strict product liability for defective products
  • Strict liability for the failure to warn against NEC risks

Families Affected by Baby Formula-Related NEC Can Request Certain Compensation

Compensation can be requested by the infant's family for damages caused due to the development of NEC after the infant ingested one of these baby formulas. Plaintiffs can request various types of compensation in an infant formula lawsuit, including:

  • Medical costs: Past, ongoing, or future medical care related to the NEC can be recovered.
  • Pain and suffering: Any physical pain the infant suffered during treatments and also mental pain caused by NEC-related injuries or treatment, including any ongoing mental issues, such as emotional distress, anxiety, or other negative effects.
  • Lost income or diminished earning capacity: A parent who could not work due to providing care for their child could be compensated for lost income. If a child has a disability due to NEC and their parents cannot work while caring for them, compensation for lost future earnings may be requested. 
  • Wrongful death: If a child passes away due to complications with NEC, the surviving family could receive compensation for funeral and burial costs, medical costs, and the child's pain and suffering before their passing.

During a free consultation, we can discuss the potential damages you may request and we'll explain what evidence we will need to support those damages.

Updates on NEC Baby Formula Lawsuit MDL

March 16, 2024 - Major Jury Verdict Is Released in NEC Infant Formula Case

In a significant legal decision, an Illinois jury found infant formula manufacturer Mead Johnson liable for failing to warn parents about the risks of Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) in premature infants who were fed their formulas. The jury awarded the plaintiffs $60 million, which is $35 million more than what the plaintiff's attorneys requested.

This verdict was the final result of a horribly tragic story that involved a mother who lost one of her twin babies to NEC. As she was facing the unimaginable, it was only made worse to know that it could have been prevented.

This case is the first among hundreds, probably thousands, of similar lawsuits that have been filed across the country and are now consolidated into the NEC multidistrict litigation (MDL). Though this case involved the worst-case scenario, the loss of a baby, it will be interesting to see how this verdict affects future cases.

During the trial, jurors heard from a dozen neonatal specialists, pediatric surgeons, and many other experts. The experts were in agreement that current research does not conclusively show cow's milk-based formula causes NEC, it was sufficiently proven that these formulas increase the risk of NEC in premature infants.

The defense and plaintiff's experts, of course, differed in opinion about how significant the increase in risk is, with at least three experts saying it is only "slight." However, some studies suggest that premature babies fed cow's milk formula are five times more likely to develop NEC compared to those fed exclusively human milk.

But what likely swayed the jury was the plaintiff's attorney's argument that had Mead Johnson adequately warned doctors and parents about the heightened risk of NEC caused by its product, this tragedy could have been prevented.

The jury came back with a decision after less than two hours of deliberation, despite hearing nearly a month of full-time testimony.

No doubt this verdict has and will continue to attract attention from attorneys nationwide now that it has been shown that NEC cases can be won in court.

Mead Johnson expressed disappointment at the verdict (because of course they did), stating that they disagree with the jury's decision and are considering appeal. By which they mean they will appeal before their towncars exit the parking garage.

Mead Johnson maintains that scientific evidence nor medical expert consensus supports this verdict.

This lawsuit is part of broader litigation (the MDL we discuss throughout this article) against Mead Johnson, best known for making Enfamil baby formula, and Abbott, best known for making Similac baby formula.

These cases have been filed by thousands of parents seeking compensation for their damages, justice for their babies' injuries or death and their pain and suffering, some type of closure, and to change NICU feeding practices.

Despite Mead Johnson's denial of responsibility, there is no doubt this jury verdict will set a precedent for future NEC lawsuits.

January 22, 2024 - Approximately 350 Baby Formula Lawsuits Pending

As of this morning, there are 348 NEC lawsuits pending in the NEC baby formula MDL. This is one of the faster growing mass torts in the nation and we expect it to continue gaining momentum as we approach bellwether trials.

December 31, 2023 - Over 50 NEC Formula Lawsuits Filed in December

As we enter 2024, there are not 341 NEC infant formula lawsuits pending in the MDL situated in the Northern District of Illinois. We have noticed an increase in momentum over the past sixty (60) days and expect this mass tort to experience significant growth in 2024.

October 30, 2023 - Judge Pallmeyer Selects Four Bellwether Cases

Four bellwether cases have been selected for trial in the NEC infant formula MDL. Keep in mind that actual trial dates have not been provided as of date but selection of four bellwether cases to proceed towards trial brings us much closer to a potential settlement and places significant pressure on baby formula manufacturers such as Mead Johnson (manufacturer of Enfamil) and Abbot Laboratories (manufacturer of Similac). 

We expect the bellwether trials to commence in 2024 and both manufacturers of cow milk formulas will be paying close attention to the results. In fact, the verdicts of these four proposed bellwether cases will shape any settlement of the NEC infant formula lawsuit.

July 1, 2023 - Recent Case Filing Reveals Typical NEC Baby Formula Fact Scenario

A case that was recently transferred to the ongoing MDL reiterates the seriousness of this litigation. Originally filed in Indiana, the toxic baby formula lawsuit was brought by a mother whose son was born very early (23 weeks) in April 2003. 

The infant was given Enfamil Premature 24 formula, which is a cow's milk-based formula. The child developed severe gastrointestinal distress and was diagnosed with NEC. After surgery to remove a portion of his bowel, he continues to suffer life-altering complications.

June 16, 2023 - 14 New Cases Added to the NEC Baby Formula MDL in the Last Month

As of mid-June, the total case count in this growing multi-district litigation has risen to 180 cases. The past 30 days saw one of the largest jumps since the MDL began.

May 31, 2023 - FTC Investigating Abbott Laboratories Regarding Possible Collusion

The Federal Trade Commission is investigating claims of state contract bidding collusion among baby formula makers, including Abbott Labs. The investigation is focused on the manufacturers' bids to supply baby formula to the Department of Agriculture's Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), which provides free formula to needy families. Abbott Labs has its plate full of legal issues at the moment.

May 23, 2023 - Economic Loss Claims are Dismissed, Personal Injury Claims Survive

The baby formula manufacturer defendants filed a motion to dismiss several of the plaintiffs' legal claims. Judge Matthew Kennelly dismissed the claims based on economic loss (the plaintiffs did not receive the value of what they purchased) and unsanitary conditions in the manufacturing plants because the plaintiffs cannot provide proof of these claims. The judge did not dismiss the personal injury claims or allegations that heavy metals were present in the baby formula.

While we always aim to include as many potential legal claims as possible in a product liability lawsuit, this ruling serves to focus the court's attention on the most important aspect of these cases; the injuries suffered by the children who consumed these formulas.

May 15, 2023 - 9 New Cases Added to the NEC Baby Formula Lawsuit MDL

We don't expect this litigation will involve thousands of injured plaintiffs. However, the total case count has now reached 166, with the addition of nine new cases in the past month. When the MDL was created, 89 federal cases were originally included. When the MDL was created, 89 federal cases were originally included in the NEC Lawsuit.

May 1, 2023 - Electronic Discovery Hits a Snag

In cases that involve large corporations, like Mead and Abbott, there is a large amount of electronic communication within the company. Most corporations have records custodians that manage this information and are responsible for providing relevant discovery of documents, emails, and more. Plaintiffs' counsel filed a motion to compel certain discovery from Mead which is resisting the disclosure of extensive information, including foreign regulatory documents.

April 28, 2023 - Largest Number of New Cases Filed in a 30-Day Period, Bellwether Trials Begin the Discovery Process

With 35 new cases filed in the past 30 days, the total of pending lawsuits is now 157. This is the largest increase in one month since this litigation began. At the same time, the first 12 cases slated for trial (known as bellwether cases) have been organized into a pool for case-specific discovery. The focus will be on depositions of fact witnesses and doctors who will provide expert opinions. After more information is gathered on the relationship between NEC and baby formula, four of the twelve cases will be chosen for trial after a final pre-trial conference currently scheduled for March 11, 2024.

March 24, 2023, New Disturbing Study Released and First NEC Baby Formula Lawsuit Not Expected Until 2024

As of March 2023, there are 122 NEC infant formula lawsuits filed in federal court and consolidated into the Multi-District Litigation based in Illinois. Also, earlier this month, a disturbing new study was released revealing that substantially more African-American infants died from NEC in the past two decades compared to Caucasian infants. These results could establish a link between the availability of quality medical care and human breast milk for premature babies in different locations and cultures throughout the country.

Pending litigation is still in the preliminary stages and discovery is proceeding in several potential bellwether cases. Since these cases involve extensive investigation, we do not expect the first bellwether case to go to trial until sometime in 2024.

October 22, 2022, NEC Baby Formula Lawsuits Now Naming Medical Providers as Defendants

MDL Judge Pallmeyer has remanded approximately 30 toxic baby formula lawsuits back to Pennsylvania State Courts. The 30 lawsuits named Pennsylvania hospitals as defendants for providing cow’s milk-based baby formula to premature infants. Each baby formula lawsuit raises allegations that the hospital promoted Similac and Enfamil as safe alternatives to human breast milk, despite an ever-growing body of science illustrating that cow’s milk formulas pose a significant danger to premature infants.

September 26, 2022, Creating the Selection Process for Bellwether Trials in the NEC Baby Formula Lawsuit

Judge Pallmeyer issued an order on September 7, 2022, laying out the protocol for the selection of baby formula bellwether trials for NEC lawsuits filed before September 15, 2022. The plaintiff steering committee had until September 30, 2022, to select four cases, and one must name Mead Johnson as a defendant. 

Judge Pallmeyer will also randomly choose four cases, including one with Mead Johnson as the defendant, by the same date. The defense has until November 23, 2022, to submit its four cases with the same requirements.

Plaintiffs and defendants will then conduct fact discovery. Within two weeks of completing fact discovery on the twelve cases, both the plaintiffs and defense must select two cases each for the bellwether trial. Judge Pallmeyer will select which case will be tried as the first NEC baby formula bellwether trial. There are 115 NEC lawsuits pending in the Northern District of Illinois at this time.

Remember that the outcome of one bellwether trial has no binding impact on any other lawsuit. However, the outcome of several bellwether trials will enable the plaintiffs and defendants to better gauge the value of these cases and how juries view the science.

Bellwether trials play a large role in the timing and mechanism of a baby formula lawsuit settlement. The bellwether trials can convince the manufacturer defendants that they face significant financial exposure by continuing to defend baby formula lawsuits through trial. On the other hand, if the defendants prevail in multiple bellwether trials, the plaintiffs may decide to reduce their demands and settle for less than initially anticipated.

In previous mass torts, we have seen bellwether trials force the parties to come to terms with the weaknesses in their respective cases. Also, in several recent mass tort cases, substantial newsworthy bellwether trial verdicts were the focus of significant media attention. These verdicts caused shareholders of these publicly traded companies to panic, resulting in quick settlements.

We are hopeful but not confident of a quick settlement in the NEC Lawsuit.

June 15, 2022, 89 NEC Baby Formula Lawsuits are Filed in the MDL and Several State Court Lawsuits Have Followed

As of June 15, 2022, 89 NEC formula lawsuits have been filed in the Illinois MDL. However, several NEC lawsuits have also been filed in various State Courts throughout the U.S. Also, several plaintiffs from around the country have filed cases in Illinois State Court, so the Supreme Court of Illinois consolidated all NEC baby formula lawsuits filed in Illinois State Courts before Judge Dennis Ruth in the Circuit Court in Madison County, Illinois.

April 18, 2022, All Nationwide NEC Baby Formula Lawsuits are Consolidated

The Joint Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) has issued a transfer order consolidating every pending necrotizing enterocolitis lawsuit filed in U.S. Federal Courts throughout the country. NEC infant formula lawsuits have now been centralized before one judge. Chief Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer of the Northern District of Illinois is overseeing the MDL (Multi-District Litigation). The new MDL is entitled: In re: Abbott Laboratories et al., Preterm Infant Nutrition Prod. Liab. Lit. (MDL No. 3026).

March 1, 2022, the Start of NEC Baby Formula Lawsuits

With almost 80 NEC Infant formula lawsuits pending in Federal Courts throughout the U.S., Abbot Laboratories (on behalf of Similac) and Mead Johnson (on behalf of Enfamil) have filed motions to have all NEC lawsuits brought to Federal Court to be consolidated in front of one Judge in a Multi-District Litigation or “MDL.”

Abbott has petitioned the Joint Panel on Multi-District Litigation (JPML) to transfer all pending federal lawsuits (including those against Mead) into an MDL. IN RE: ABBOTT LABORATORIES, ET AL., PRETERM INFANT NUTRITION PRODUCTS LIABILITY LITIGATION.

Abbot requested that all pending federal lawsuits be consolidated under U.S. District Judge Stephen Underhill in the District of Connecticut. The motion requested Judge Underhill to coordinate discovery and oversee any pretrial proceedings. Abbot argued that Judge Underhill has extensive knowledge of these lawsuits since some of the first federal toxic baby formula lawsuits were filed in his Court. Oral arguments were set on March 31, 2022.

Do You Have a Case Against Baby Formula Manufacturers?

Unfortunately, no one is warning already over-stressed mothers and fathers about these dangers. Baby formula manufacturers Abbott Laboratories and Mead Johnson & Company (the makers of Similac and Enfamil formula, respectively) have not added any warnings to cow’s milk-based baby formula products. Sadly, some parents whose premature babies and infants have experienced the unthinkable after ingesting cow's milk-based formula are now filing baby formula lawsuits against these manufacturers.

NEC Baby Formula Lawsuit

It’s unclear whether hospitals or doctors knew this risk and failed to warn new parents of preterm infants of their concerns over baby formulas. Recent lawsuits have also named medical providers as defendants claiming they failed to warn parents about the dangers of Similac and Enfamil.

If you believe your premature infant or child has suffered injury or death due to necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) after being fed a cow’s milk-based formula, an experienced defective baby product attorney can help you build a baby formula lawsuit.

You have a right to expect companies that manufacture baby food to be safe and effective. When they fail to provide safe products which lead to injury or death, you have the right to pursue legal recourse. Your family may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, funeral costs, and pain and suffering caused by your child’s injuries or tragic death.

Contact a baby formula lawyer at Dolman Law Group for a free case evaluation. Let us determine if you have grounds for an infant formula lawsuit.

What Is Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC)?

Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a devastating disease, primarily affecting the intestines of premature infants and underweight Similac and Enfamil formula-fed babies.

NEC is caused by bacteria from cow’s milk that attack the baby’s intestine walls, leading to local infection and inflammation. The inflammation of the newborn’s intestines can lead to tissue death inside the organ. Further, the inflammation can result in perforations of the colon or walls of the intestine, which ultimately destroy the intestinal wall.

Once the bacteria destroy the wall, it can cause a tear, leading to the spillage of stool and bacteria into the infant’s abdomen; this can result in an overwhelming infection, organ failure, and death.

What Causes NEC?

Infant Formulas Should be Safe and Worry-free - NEC Lawsuit - SDG

Overall, NEC affects 1 in 2,000 to 4,000 premature babies. Although rare in normal-weight births, NEC occurs in nearly 10% of premature infants.

The exact cause of NEC is unknown, but it is clear that it usually presents itself in premature infants and formula feeding. One reason researchers believe this happens has to do with the fragile lining of the intestines in premature babies.

A preemie can experience decreased oxygen delivery to the intestines, which weakens the lining. When something damages the weakened intestinal wall lining, bacteria that usually live inside the intestine can infect the intestine wall, organs, and the body cavity, causing NEC.

Many different clinical studies and scientific research have shown the link between necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and the use of infant formula, including one published in the Expert Review of Clinical Immunology.

Research from the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine has also confirmed that premature babies fed only human breast milk (without any cow’s milk supplementation) have a lower risk of NEC and death.

Can Enfamil or Similac Cause NEC?

In 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a directive about the use of cow's-milk formulas for premature infants and stated they should only receive human-based milk. The leading study on NEC in premature infants studied and followed the health of 900 premature babies fed cow milk-based formula.

According to a clinical trial published in Lancet, babies who consumed cow's milk formulas (such as Similac and Enfamil) are six to ten times more likely to be diagnosed with NEC than preemies who drank solely human breast milk. 

Similac and Enfamil Still Do Not Post Warnings

Even after several studies have potentially linked their products to health problems in premature infants, Enfamil and Similac still do not post warnings concerning the risk of feeding cow milk-based formulas to a premature infant. At a minimum, the manufacturers of Enfamil and Similac should have posted warnings of potential death and risk of severe intestinal/colon issues. 

In 2019, Cochrane Library conducted a thorough review of 12 completed trials that involved 1871 infants who used cow's milk formula. The studies indicated that using cow's milk-based formulas doubled the risk of a premature infant developing NEC compared to babies ingesting only human breast milk.

Symptoms of NEC

Premature babies who are suffering from necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) may experience:

  • Swollen, red, or tender stomach
  • Abdominal pressure
  • Diarrhea
  • Refusal to eat or hold down food
  • Tiredness or lethargy
  • Bloody Stools
  • Fluctuations in temperature
  • Lack of weight gain
  • Vomiting
  • Abnormal breathing patterns
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Low blood pressure

NEC can also cause severe injuries like permanent blindness, loss or removal of the small and large intestines, and cerebral palsy. In some cases, the infection can lead to death. In most cases, the baby survives but suffers catastrophic injuries.

The Serious Dangers of NEC

We referenced above the severe injuries and health issues attributed to NEC. Keep in mind that the above list was not exhaustive, and other serious injuries can occur, such as:


NEC can cause rapid decay and tissue death to the baby’s inner intestinal walls and may develop in the large or small intestine. The necrotizing infection originates in the inner lining of the intestinal walls and impacts the entire intestine thickness.

When NEC causes wall perforation, it allows the bacteria from inside the intestine to leak out into the abdominal cavity. The situation rapidly progresses into a widespread internal bacterial infection called peritonitis and can eventually cause sepsis, a deadly bloodstream infection.

Intestinal strictures

Intestinal stricture is the narrowing of the intestine, hindering easy food passage. Sometimes, NEC requires surgical intervention and intestinal tissue removal, leading to short bowel syndrome, which impacts the baby’s development and growth.

The medical bills to treat these issues can be in the tens of thousands, notwithstanding the potential complications associated with such serious conditions. If baby formula caused these problems in your child, you deserve compensation to help recoup your financial losses.

Bases for a Baby Formula Lawsuit – Formulas Should Be Safe and Worry-Free

The birth of a new baby should be a happy and exciting time. However, this happy event may also be filled with stress, fear, and worry when a baby is born prematurely.

Premature babies enter the world with potential problems. They usually need extra nutrition and assistance, so advanced infant formulas have been developed.

One of the most common types of infant formulas is made out of cow's milk. While some babies experience no ill effects from cow’s milk-based formulas, doctors often suggest soy-based products or donated human milk as a better alternative. Bovine formulas can be made in a factory to mimic breast milk; they are plentiful and relatively inexpensive. They also have the vitamins and minerals that babies need to grow.

Hundreds of companies produce these formulas, and some of the most popular brands are Enfamil and Similac. These companies should undergo rigorous testing and development to be released for public use. However, that does not mean that everything is always perfectly safe for your special new baby.

NEC Lawsuit - NEC Baby Formula Lawsuit - Dolman Law Group

Injured Consumers Can Hold Manufacturers Liable

In general, manufacturers of all different products in the U.S. may be held liable for injuries caused by their products if they present an unreasonable risk of harm. Manufacturers also must warn consumers about any dangers associated with using their products, which is why you see electrical shock stickers on clothing irons or warnings on medicines.

Many reasonably believe that Similac formula manufacturer Abbott Laboratories was aware of the danger associated with cow's milk infant formula that is fed to premature infants. It's believed the manufacturer knew the product was dangerous but hid it from consumers to increase profits and protect its reputation. The failure to warn of a known danger is at the heart of an NEC lawsuit.

Babies who suffer from NEC caused by cow’s milk-based formulas are only in this position because they were born underweight and usually before their due date. Because of this, it is helpful to understand the risk factors of preterm birth.

The specific cause of premature birth isn’t clear; however, there are some known risk factors for premature baby delivery, including:

  • Mother has a previous premature deliver
  • Being pregnant with multiple babies
  • A span of fewer than six months between pregnancies
  • Conceiving through in vitro fertilization
  • Complications with the uterus, cervix, or placenta
  • Smoking cigarettes or using illicit drugs during pregnancy, including Tylenol
  • Infections of the amniotic fluid or the mother's genital tract
  • High blood pressure and diabetes in the mother
  • Mother being underweight or overweight before and during pregnancy
  • High stress during pregnancy
  • Previous multiple miscarriages or abortions
  • Physical injury or trauma to the mother

Black women are especially susceptible to premature birth for unknown reasons compared to women of other races. However, premature birth can happen to anyone. Many women who experience a premature birth have no known risk factors. However, health officials have become alarmed at the issues faced by premature infants fed cow’s milk-based formula.

Diagnosis of NEC – Necrotizing Enterocolitis in a Newborn

preemie mom - NEC Baby Formula Lawsuit - Dolman Law Group

Diagnosis of NEC usually begins with noticeable symptoms like those listed above. It can then be confirmed through an abdominal x-ray of the intestine. Once an NEC x-ray is performed, a fecal occult blood test may be given to test for elevated white blood cell count, low platelet count (thrombocytopenia), or lactic acidosis.

Treatment for NEC

Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) begins with stopping the formula regimen the newborn infant is on. Then, excess stomach gas can be relieved by inserting a small tube into the stomach. Intravenous feeding is also typically started. This allows doctors to begin antibiotic treatment and assess surgery.

The infant’s condition will be continually monitored with x-rays, blood tests, and other assessments. If it is found that the baby has a hole in the intestine or inflammation of the abdominal wall, then surgery will be necessary. During surgery, the dead bowel tissue is removed and a colostomy or ileostomy is performed. The bowel may be reconnected several weeks or months later when the infection and inflammation have healed.

The Prognosis for NEC

Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a serious condition that leads to death in 40% of infants who suffer from it. Treating the disease early and aggressively can improve the infant’s chances of full recovery.

Alternative Feeding Options and Preventive Strategies to Reduce the Risk of NEC

Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a serious intestinal illness primarily affecting premature infants. While there's no guaranteed way to prevent NEC, several strategies can significantly reduce the risk. Here's a breakdown of preventive measures and alternative feeding options:

Strategies to Prevent NEC

  • Breastmilk Feeding: Breastmilk is considered the gold standard for feeding premature infants. Its unique immunological properties, growth factors, and prebiotics promote gut health and reduce the risk of NEC compared to formula-based feeds.
  • Restrictive Antibiotic Use: Unnecessary antibiotics disrupt the gut microbiome and increase the risk of NEC.
  • Probiotic Supplementation: Certain probiotic strains like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium may help establish healthy bacteria in the gut (known as bacterial gut flora) and potentially reduce NEC risk. However, research is ongoing to determine the most effective strains and dosages.
  • Standardized Feeding Protocols (SFPs): SFPs outline a gradual feeding process for premature infants, starting with small volumes of breast milk or specialized formula. This approach allows the immature gut to adapt and reduces the risk of overwhelming it.

Alternative Feeding Options When Breastfeeding or Milk Isn't Available

  • Donor Human Milk: Pasteurized donor human milk from milk banks is a good alternative to a mother's own breast milk. It offers similar benefits and reduces NEC risk compared to cow-based formula.
  • Fortified Human Milk: Mother's own breastmilk can be fortified with additional nutrients to meet the specific needs of a premature infant. This approach prioritizes the benefits of breastmilk while addressing potential nutritional deficiencies.
  • Preterm Infant Formula: Specially formulated breastmilk or preterm infant formulas are used when breastmilk or donor milk isn't available. However, these options carry a higher risk of NEC compared to breastmilk, especially if they are cow’s milk-based.

Additional Ways to Keep Your Baby Safe from NEC

  • Trophic Feeds: Trophic feeding is the practice of feeding tiny amounts in order to stimulate the development of the preterm infant’s immature stomach and gastrointestinal tract, which can potentially reduce NEC risk.
  • Close Monitoring: Regardless of the feeding method, healthcare professionals should closely monitor premature infants for signs of NEC. Early detection and intervention are essential for successfully treating the condition.

These are general guidelines and are for educational purposes only. They should not be taken as medical advice. Always consult with your doctor about the best feeding practices for your infant.

Who Is Being Sued for Baby Formula Injuries?

Abbott (maker of Similac) and Mead Johnson (maker of Enfamil) have allegedly failed to warn parents and medical professionals that their products could cause or significantly increase the risk of NEC and death in premature infants.

The current NEC baby formula lawsuits filed against Abbott and Mead Johnson alleged that they knew or should have known that their cow’s milk infant formulas posed a serious and unreasonable danger to premature infants. More recently, NEC baby formula lawsuits have been filed against medical providers and hospitals that gave premature babies Enfamil or Similac while still in the hospital's care.

Do you believe your baby suffered necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) that resulted in injury or death after being fed infant formula products made from cow’s milk? You should contact a baby formula lawyer at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, for a free initial case evaluation. If we work with you on your potential NEC lawsuit, you pay nothing unless we recover money for your family.

Lawsuits Filed Against Enfamil and Similac

Infant formula NEC lawsuits have alleged that the cow’s milk-based formula caused premature babies to develop necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). Premature infants have digestive systems that are not fully developed. The lawsuits further allege that premature babies suffered death or long-term serious medical issues after ingesting formulas from Enfamil and Similac.

The plaintiffs allege that the defendants’ cow’s milk-based infant feeding products, which were fed to premature infants, caused the babies to develop NEC. Some of the lawsuits claim the injured infants had “underdeveloped digestive systems” and suffered death or long-term health effects because they were fed Similac and Enfamil formula.

We have been following the Similac baby formula lawsuits filed since January 1, 2022. In recent baby formula lawsuits filed in Ohio, Wisconsin, and Illinois, the plaintiffs claim that Similac and Enfamil knew the dangers the formula products posed to preterm babies. Additionally, they assert that Similac and Enfamil “aggressively marketed” their formulas as equivalent to breast milk while being fully aware of the risks that such products pose to preterm babies.

Recent Studies on the Risk of Toxic Baby Formulas

In 2019, Cochrane – an independent organization that researches the effectiveness of health care through clinical trials – compared the results of feeding a premature infant baby formula versus breast milk. Cochrane’s multiple trials, which involved 1,871 babies, found that feeding premature and low-weight infants with formula nearly doubled their risk of developing necrotizing enterocolitis.

These studies have led to multiple lawsuits against the manufacturers of these formulas, who failed to warn the public and healthcare communities about the serious risks of injury and death.

Please note that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve infant formulas before being marketed to the public. However, both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and FDA recommended back in 2002 that NICUs (Neonatal Intensive Care Units) no longer use powdered infant formula.

The NEC British Medicine Study

A recent NEC study published in the British Medical Journal on October 14, 2021, suggests that the makers of infant formulas such as Similac funded unreliable and biased clinical product trials. The infant formula trials showed a lack of universal transparency and may have downplayed NEC risks associated with their cow's-milk formulas.

What Infant Formulas Are Included in This Lawsuit?

We are currently accepting and investigating cases of NEC caused by baby formula. If you have a premature infant with NEC or a child who developed NEC as a baby after ingesting baby formula, contact our law firm for more information. At this point, suspected NEC-causing products include:

(All Similac products are manufactured by Abbot Nutrition and Enfamil products are manufactured by Mead Johnson & Company).

  • Similac Special Care 20 
  • Similac Human Milk Fortifier Concentrated Liquid
  • Similac Human Milk Fortifier Powder
  • Similac Alimentum 
  • Similac Alimentum Expert Care
  • Similac NeoSure 
  • Similac Special Care 24 
  • Similac Special Care 30 
  • Similac Special Care 24 – High Protein 
  • Similac Liquid Protein Fortifier 
  • Enfamil Human Milk Fortifier 
  • Enfamil Neuro Pro Enfa Care Infant Formula 
  • Enfamil 24 Cal Infant Formula 
  • Enfamil Human Milk Fortifier 
  • Enfamil Premature 20 Cal
  • Enfamil Premature 24 Cal
  • Enfamil Premature 30 Cal

As you can see, the only brands of baby formula we are targeting are Enfamil and Similac.

Deadline to File an NEC Lawsuit

If you believe your child suffered injury or death caused by necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) after being fed one of these formulas, contact the NEC baby formula lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, today. We will make sure your case fits within the time limit of the newborn Enfamil and Similac formula lawsuits being filed. Keep in mind that time is of the essence, especially as the NEC lawsuit MDL is being built.

What Settlement Should You Expect from a Similac Lawsuit?

The Similac and Enfamil lawsuits are still in their early stages of litigation because none of the lawsuits have gone to trial or reached a settlement. This makes it hard to speculate on the potential settlement values of these cases. It will be some time before the first Similac formula lawsuit proceeds to trial. The same holds true for your average Enfamil lawsuit — there are simply more lawsuits filed against Similac as of date.

However, our lawyers can assess other verdicts and settlements in past medical malpractice lawsuits where the primary injury was NEC in a premature baby to gauge how your potential baby formula lawsuit might unfold.

NEC Settlement Amounts

The seven most recent NEC malpractice lawsuit settlements in premature infants illustrated significant value. The average amount of money awarded to the seven cases was $1.3 million. Now, Abbott and Mead are different from nurses and doctors, potentially increasing the actual value of a baby formula lawsuit.

We can estimate average baby formula lawsuit settlement amounts between $300,000 and $800,000 for a Similac necrotizing enterocolitis formula lawsuit. However, this estimated amount will depend on the severity of the baby’s injuries. Further, we project a similar range for Enfamil toxic baby formula NEC lawsuits.

Trust Our NEC Baby Formula Lawsuit Lawyers' Experience

No parent should worry that the food, medicine, or toys they are giving their child will seriously injure or kill them. This is especially true when a parent is already dealing with a fragile and at-risk infant. Baby products should provide benefits for those we need to protect, not cause unnecessary or avoidable harm.

If your preterm infant was injured or died because of NEC caused by infant formula, you need the help of legal professionals who understand what it takes to hold large corporations accountable. If your baby was diagnosed with NEC, we are here to protect you.

We Have the Financial Resources to Level the Playing Field

These manufacturers are mammoth companies with hundreds of experienced lawyers working for them. Still, this doesn’t mean they should be able to do whatever they want. This means that consumers who were injured due to corporate negligence deserve justice. You can level the playing field by having your own experienced product liability lawyer fighting for you.

6 Tips for How to Choose the Right Lawyer for Your NEC Lawsuit

Choosing the right lawyer to handle something as important as the lawyer who will defend you and your baby after a company's negligence caused your precious child to develop NEC is a serious task.

Dolman Law Group's qualifications and experience in handling similar cases make us a strong candidate to be the right lawyer for you.

Here's how to ensure you're making the right choice and how Dolman Law Group lives up to every one of these expectations.

1. Specialization in Product Liability Law

Ensure the law firm specializes in complex product liability law, as these cases often involve intricate legal and regulatory knowledge. Dolman Law Group has a strong history of handling product liability cases, including medical devices, pharmaceutical drugs, commercial-grade chemicals, household products, construction materials, and products for children.

2. Experience with Similar Cases

Look for a law firm with experience handling cases similar to yours, in this case, the law firm should have experience with taking on massive corporations and handling defective products that involve chemistry evidence.

Dolman Law Group has dealt with a wide range of product liability cases, from defective medical devices and dangerous pharmaceuticals to consumer products that have caused injury and death. Our experience with cases involving Suboxone and Roundup, for example, highlights our expertise in navigating lawsuits against global manufacturers of complicated, harmful products.

3. Past Results

Consider the law firm's track record of success in product liability lawsuits, not just car accidents or slip and falls; these types of cases are very different. Dolman Law Group's focus on fighting for the rights of individuals injured by defective products shows our commitment to getting favorable results for our clients. We have recovered over $400 Million in settlements, helped over 40,000 clients, and have over 120 years of combined legal experience with complex cases.

5. Attorney Qualifications

Review the qualifications of the attorneys who will be handling your case. Dolman Law Group boasts a team of skilled attorneys specialized in product liability and personal injury law, ensuring that your case will be handled by professionals with the necessary expertise.

Stan Gipe is a board-certified attorney who has served as lead counsel on over a thousand personal injury lawsuits. Further, he has taken many personal injury lawsuits to jury verdicts.

Matthew Dolman is a lifetime member of both the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Less than 1% of practicing lawyers have achieved this status. Matthew has been selected as a Florida Super Lawyer, Florida Legal Elite, and Florida Trend’s Legal Elite, among many more awards.

6. Communication and Transparency

Choose a law firm that values communication and transparency. Dolman Law Group emphasizes the importance of keeping clients informed and involved throughout the legal process, ensuring that you understand every step of your case. When you work with Dolman Law, you get the personal phone number of your lawyer and can call, email, or text any time to get an update on your case.

7. Resources and Capability

Ensure the law firm has the resources and capability to take on large corporations. Dolman Law Group has the financial resources and legal expertise to level the playing field against giant companies. It takes hundreds of thousands of dollars or more to hire all the legal experts, get medical reports and studies, and gather all of the information necessary to present a solid case.

Choosing the right lawyer for your NEC lawsuit is important. Consider a law firm's specialization, experience, past results, attorney qualifications, approach to communication, and resources.

Dolman Law Group's qualifications in all of these areas make us a strong candidate for representing you in your NEC lawsuit.

We have filed lawsuits against companies, organizations, and products like ZantacTylenolUloricTepezzaOzempic and Mounjaro, Bard PowerPorts, Camp Lejeune, the Catholic church and protestant churches, Philips, Revlon, Uber and Lyft, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, the Veterans Administration, and so much more.

Contact the NEC Baby Formula Lawsuit Lawyers at Dolman Law Group Today

NEC Baby Formula Lawsuit Lawyer

To learn more about a potential NEC baby formula lawsuit and how we have become one of America's most trusted personal injury law firms, contact us today.

You can reach the experienced NEC baby formula lawyers at Dolman Law Group by calling (866)481-5347 or reach out online with our simple contact form today for a free consultation.

The Dolman Law Group works with local counsel in any jurisdiction outside Florida for the purpose of filing lawsuits in jurisdictions wherein we are not licensed. Thus, we will follow each State's ethical rules to ensure a local attorney is involved along with our team on any NEC lawsuit.

The author of this article is Stanley Gipe. Mr. Gipe is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer. The designation connotes that he is an expert in the art of litigation and trying cases before a jury. Stan has twenty-three (23) years of experience representing victims of serious and often catastrophic injuries. Further, he has served as lead counsel on over two thousand lawsuits and lead trial counsel in numerous jury trials.

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions about NEC Lawsuits

1. What is Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC)?

NEC is a serious gastrointestinal problem that mostly affects premature infants. It specifically refers to inflammation and, in severe cases, the death of tissues in the intestines, which can lead to serious health complications or death for the baby.

2. How is NEC linked to baby formulas?

Studies have shown that cow's milk-based baby formulas, like certain products from Similac and Enfamil, may increase the risk of NEC in premature infants due to their immature digestive systems' reaction to cow's milk protein.

3. Can I file a lawsuit if my baby developed NEC after being fed a specific baby formula?

Yes, if your baby was fed a cow's milk-based formula in the hospital or at home and then developed NEC, you might be eligible to file a lawsuit against the formula manufacturer for either failing to warn you about the risk of the product or for producing a harmful product in the first place—or both.

4. What compensation can I seek in an NEC baby formula lawsuit?

Compensation in an NEC lawsuit may include medical expenses (past and future), pain and suffering, lost wages (if you had to take time off work to care for your baby), and, in tragic cases, wrongful death cases like funeral and burial expenses.

5. How do I know if I have a case for an NEC baby formula lawsuit?

A qualified attorney like those at Dolman Law Group can review the specifics of your case, including the baby formula used, your medical records, and the timeline of your baby's NEC diagnosis, to determine if you are eligible to file an NEC lawsuit.

6. Are there any current class action lawsuits against baby formula manufacturers for NEC?

Technically, lawsuits like the NEC cases are not class action lawsuits. However, some of the cases filed across the nation have all been consolidated into one federal court case called a Multi-District Litigation (MDL) for the preliminary parts of the trial. Once the pretrial proceedings have been handled, the MDL cases will go back to individual cases. So, in a sense, there is a "class action" in a manner of sorts. Lots of cases have been consolidated into the MDL, and others are being filed on their own in state courts. A Dolman Law Group attorney can advise whether joining an MDL or filing an individual lawsuit is best for your situation.

7. How long do I have to file an NEC baby formula lawsuit?

All states have laws known as statutes of limitations which limit the amount of time a person has to file starting from the time they were injured or found out they were injured. The amount of time varies by state, so it's important to consult with a Dolman Law attorney as soon as possible if you believe your baby's NEC was caused by milk-based formula.

8. What should I do if I'm contacted by the baby formula manufacturer or their insurance company?

You should absolutely not discuss your case or accept any offers without first consulting with your attorney. If they are calling you to offer you money, it's because they know you have a good case and are trying to give you a couple of pennies on the dollar.

9. How can I prove the baby formula caused my baby's NEC?

Your attorney will work with medical experts to review your baby's health records, the timing of the NEC diagnosis, and the type of baby formula your baby consumed in order to establish a link between the formula and your baby's condition.

10. What are the chances of winning an NEC baby formula lawsuit?

The outcome of any lawsuit depends on the specifics of the case, including the severity of the injuries, the amount of damages, and most importantly, the amount of evidence available to prove your case. An experienced NEC baby formula attorney can provide a realistic assessment based on similar past cases and the strength of your case. As we mentioned above, a single NEC case just settled for $60 Million, so really depends.


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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