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GoldenbergLaw Partner Noah Lauricella Appointed to NEC Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee

On May 26, 2022, Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois conditionally appointed GoldenbergLaw Partner Noah Lauricella to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC) for the Infant Formula NEC Multidistrict Litigation (MDL 3026).

The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (the Panel) determines if a group of civil lawsuits can be classified as a ‘multidistrict litigation’ (MDL). Multidistrict litigations are litigations that are pending in more than one federal district court involving common questions of facts. If a group of cases is classified as a multidistrict litigation, the Panel transfers the group of cases to one federal court for coordinated and consolidated pretrial proceedings.

The Panel decided that the Infant Formula NEC Multidistrict Litigation is a multidistrict litigation and, in April 2022, transferred the case to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and it became MDL 3026.

The Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC) is critical to the multidistrict litigation’s leadership structure and GoldenbergLaw is immensely proud of Noah for his appointment to the PSC. This litigation is personal for Noah because he has twins who were born prematurely. Noah knows firsthand how important it is to have safe baby formulas.

NEC & Cow Milk-Based Baby Formulas

Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a serious gastrointestinal illness with a 30% mortality rate that primarily affects premature infants due to their weakened immune and digestive systems. Because preterm infants have weakened immune and digestive systems, their bodies struggle to fight off intestinal infections and deliver critical blood to the intestines. The lack of blood flow to the intestinal tissue can cause tissue death. The wall of the premature infants is bombarded by bacteria causing local infection and inflammation that can destroy the intestinal wall. The destruction of the bowel wall can cause a hole in the intestine. The bacteria can leak from the intestines into the abdomen or bloodstream and increase the risk of a life-threatening blood infection, sepsis. Symptoms of NEC usually develop two to six weeks after birth and include:

  • Abdominal pain and swelling

  • Changes in heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and breathing

  • Diarrhea with bloody stool

  • Green or yellow vomit

  • Lethargy

  • Refusing to eat and lack of weight gain

Roughly 10% of premature infants suffer from NEC and it’s the cause of approximately 3% of all admissions to neonatal intensive care units (NICU). 90% of babies who get NEC were born prematurely, usually:

  • Before the 37th week of pregnancy

  • Fed through a tube in the stomach

  • Weigh less than 5.5 pounds at birth

Cow milk-based infant formulas are potential causes of NEC. Human milk is easier to digest than other formula alternatives and it contains vital substances that help fight infections and strengthen intestinal cells. Studies have shown that premature babies who consume human milk after birth are at a lower risk of developing infections such as NEC.

However, cow milk-based baby formulas Enfamil (manufactured by Mead Johnson Nutrition) and Similac (manufactured by Similac) do not have warning labels alerting parents to the increased risk of NEC caused by feeding their premature infants cow milk-based formulas instead of human milk.

How GoldenbergLaw Can Help

If your premature infant contracted NEC after consuming Enfamil or Similac milk-based baby formula, contact Noah Lauricella by phone at 612-335-9977 or by email at nlauricella@goldenberglaw.com to discuss how our team can help you today.

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