District judge issues final pretrial order in Depakote drug case

By Mike Helenthal | May 31, 2017

EAST ST. LOUIS — A federal judge on May 9 issued a final pretrial order for a case challenging the safety of the drug Depakote, an antiepileptic drug used to treat bipolar disorder and seizures, ordering both sides to submit jury instructions for an expected trial.

The case against drug maker Abbott Laboratories Inc. was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois by attorneys representing Christina Raquel, who claims her minor child, identified in court documents as E.G., suffered serious birth defects because of being exposed to the drug in utero.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Rosenstengel presides over the Multi-District Litigation. 

Raquel's claims alleges that Abbott failed to provide adequate warning to her physicians regarding the risks of Depakote and seeks damages for her child's birth defects. 

Abbott argues that it “adequately warned” Raquel’s physicians of the drug’s risks during her pregnancy.

The pretrial order lists several expert witnesses that were submitted by attorneys from both sides of the case.

Damages in the claim include those concerning future medical and life-care expenses; future lost earning capacity; past and future pain, suffering and mental distress; inconvenience, loss of intellectual gratification or physical enjoyment and any other loss of lifestyle; physical disability; disfigurement; and other non-economic damages.

Medical expenses incurred by Raquel, according to court documents, so far have topped $330,000, and future medical expenses are estimated to be around $15,000. 

According to court documents, “Abbott denies all of Plaintiffs’ allegations, and, accordingly, contends that Plaintiffs are not entitled to recover any damages from Abbott.”

Lead counsel for plaintiffs are John E. Williams, Jr. and John T. Boundas of Williams Kherkher Hart Boundas in Houston.

Lead defense counsel includes Joel Smith of Bowman and Brooke of Columbia, S.C. and Dan Ball of Bryan Cave in St. Louis.

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Abbott Laboratories U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois East St. Louis

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