Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) Lawsuit

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What Is A NEC Lawsuit?

NEC lawsuits are public complaints that are filed in state or federal court based on injuries to premature infants.
The complaints allege that thousands of American infants have suffered injury and even died due to cow-based baby formula fed to preemies (infants born before 37 weeks gestation).
The baby formula manufacturers have known about the danger of NEC in preemies since the 1990s, and continued recommend their formula to generations of Americans.
The NEC lawsuits we file tell the stories of infants who have suffered injury to their digestive system, or have died from NEC after being born prematurely and using baby formula or nutritional fortifiers.
Many medical studies over the past 30 years show the dangerous increase in NEC in preemies given cow milk based formula.

What Is Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC)?

Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) is a devastating intestinal disease that primarily affects premature infants.

NEC occurs when bacteria grow in an infant's intestines and bowel. This bacteria causes infection and inflammation that leads to the destruction of the intestinal wall, resulting in bowel rupture, sepsis and sometimes death.

The destruction of the bowel wall can lead to a tear in the lining, causing the bowel to rupture. When the bowel ruptures, stool spills into the infant's abdomen, leading to further overwhelming infection and possibly death.

Act now to find out how much our law firm can recover for your family. It will only take a few seconds to use our NEC case value calculator.

What Causes Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC)?

Enfamil and Similac are based on cow milk.  Preemies cannot properly digest cow milk protein, contributing to the growth of harmful bacteria colonies in the gut.

Breast milk is easily digested by preemies, while cow milk-based formula can exceed the capacity of premature lungs to provide sufficient oxygen to the intestines for proper digestion.

The resulting cell death in the intestines is know as Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC).

What Are The Symptoms of Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC)?

NEC symptoms can vary but typically start showing within the first 2 weeks after an infant is born prematurely. They also seem to form in infants fed by a baby formula or when breast milk is supplemented by formula compared to breast milk alone.

Symptoms start gradually and then worsen. The symptoms listed below go in the order in which they present themselves.

  • Intolerance to Feeding
  • Bloating
  • Vomiting of (green) Bile
  • Bloody Stools (Caused by Infection)
  • Lower Respiratory Rate
  • Lower Heart Rate

These symptoms are often present when premature infants are fed cow milk based formulas. They may also occur in premature infants fed breast milk when it is supplemented with Similac or Enfamil nutritional "fortifiers" containing cow milk proteins.

Baby Formula and Hospitals

Mead Johnson and Abbott Laboratories are two companies that make the most widely used baby formulas, Enfamil and Similac.

Hospitals purchase Enfamil and Similac in bulk orders directly  from the manufacturer.

Both Abbott Laboratories and Mead Johnson offer discounts and incentives to hospitals to exclusively purchase their products.

Therefore, when donor breast milk is unavailable, doctors often have no alternative than to use whatever formula is available at their hospital.

What Compensation Is Available For Victims of Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC)?

If your infant was born prematurely and developed digestive problems, required corrective surgery, or died from NEC after using baby formula, our law firm could recover compensation for the following: medical expenses and pain and suffering.

The manufacturers of Similac and Enfamil may be legally liable for causing NEC in your infant.

This could give you the option to file a claim for product liability or wrongful death.

Frequently Asked Questions

What brands of baby formula qualify for an NEC lawsuit?

Similac, made by Abbot Laboratories, Enfamil, made by Mead Johnson, and any other baby formula derived from cow's milk given to premature infants from 24-32 weeks of age.

How long do I have to file a baby formula lawsuit?

How long you have to file a baby formula lawsuit will depend on where you live and where your child was diagnosed with an injury. That deadline is called the statute of limitations. It varies from state to state and is often tolled because the injured party is a minor. An experienced attorney will be able to help you sort this out and take action to protect your child's legal rights.

Will my child have to do anything if I file?

No. All action in these claims will be able to be handled by the parents. Your child's medical records will be part of your claim, but usually, a child will not be directly involved in this type of lawsuit.

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Abbot Laboratories failed to warn parents about NEC

The company still marketed Similac to the unsuspecting parents of preemies, hoping to establish brand loyalty before the newborn was released from the hospital.
This practice sold billions of formulas while putting children's health at risk.
Abbott Laboratories has a responsibility as a company that makes baby food to inform its customers of the risks involved with the product. Abbott has not included any warnings about NEC to avoid harming marketability.
Similac is manufactured by Abbott Labs, which has been aware of its dangers to premature babies since the 1990s.


Mead Johnson had a duty to warn that Enfamil posed a higher risk of NEC in prematurely born infants.

The manufacturer of Enfamil, Mead Johnson, has long been aware of the scientific evidence and clinical studies that show that Enfamil puts premature babies at higher risk of NEC.
Despite this evidence, Mead Johnson declined to include warnings about NEC for consumers and doctors.
Mead Johnson’s failure to warn about NEC happened continuously from the 1990s until December 2021.


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