Hours after a Sanford, Florida jury awarded $13.3 million to the family of a 34-year-old woman who died while wearing a Duragesic Fentanyl Pain Patch, my firm, Heygood, Orr, Reyes, Pearson & Bartolomei began trial in a Chicago state court jury on behalf of the family of Janice Dicosola of Cicero, Illinois. The 38-year-old woman died in 2004 while wearing a Duragesic Pain Patch, manufactured by Alza Corporation and distributed by Janssen Pharmaceutica Products.
Lead attorney for the family and Partner of HORP&B, Jim Orr, was quoted in Bloomberg.com as saying, “Each patch has enough fentanyl in it to kill 10 300-pound men.” My firm is asking the jury to award $25 million to the DiCosolo family. Fentanyl, the active ingredient in the Duragesic Pain Patch, is an opioid medication that is 100 times stronger than morphine. A leakage defect in certain lots of the patch has caused numerous deaths from overdose throughout the country.
My firm was the first to win a federal case against the makers of any fentanyl pain patch. The jury awarded the family of 28-year-old Adam Hendelson $5.5 million last year in a West Palm Beach federal court.
Please see the Bloomberg.com article below:
J&J Pain Patch Gave Woman Fatal Dose, Lawyer Tells Chicago Jury
October 30, 2008
A Johnson & Johnson unit's defective pain-killing patch delivered a fatal overdose to a 38-year-old woman, her family's attorney told a Chicago jury at the start of a wrongful-death trial.
Janice DiCosolo, a mother of three from Cicero, Illinois, died in February 2004 from toxic effects of the drug fentanyl, the active ingredient in the Duragesic trans-dermal patch made by Alza Corp. and distributed by Janssen Pharmaceutica Products, according to a complaint filed by her husband, John.
"Each patch has enough fentanyl in it to kill 10 300-pound men," John DiCosolo's attorney, Jim Orr, told a Chicago state court jury of seven men and seven women in his opening statement yesterday. Orr asked the jury to award $25 million to the DiCosolo family.
The patches generated $1.16 billion in sales last year for Johnson & Johnson, the world's largest maker of medical devices. The DiCosolo trial began a day after a Florida jury awarded more than $13 million to the family of Susan Hodgemire, a 34-year-old mother of five who died after using a Duragesic patch in 2002.
Fentanyl is a pain killer that is 100 times more powerful than morphine, according to Orr, an attorney in the Dallas firm of Heygood, Orr, Reyes & Bartolomei. Janice DiCosolo was found wearing one of the patches when she died. Her husband's lawyers said the product was defectively made and that Alza and Janssen should be held strictly liable for her death.
The specific patch blamed for DiCosolo's death wasn't defective, attorneys for the units said in a July 30 court filing. The elevated levels of fentanyl found in her bloodstream in a post-mortem examination flowed from her organs after she died and weren't from the patch, they said.
Janssen recalled one Duragesic lot in February 2004, one day after DiCosolo died, because of improper sealing, defense lawyer David Sudzus wrote in that filing. The patch worn by DiCosolo was from that lot, he said.
The case is DiCosolo v. Janssen Pharmaceutica, 04L5351, Cook County, Illinois Circuit Court, Law Division (Chicago).
©2008 Angel Reyes