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Botox Brain Injury Lawsuit Results in $212 Million Judgment for Plaintiff

Apr 29, 2011 | Parker Waichman LLP

A Virginia man who suffered brain damage following Botox injections has been awarded $212 million from a federal jury.  According to a report from Law360, the Botox lawsuit award included $200 million in punitive damages and $12 million in compensatory damages.

In his Botox lawsuit, Douglas Ray Jr. said he underwent Botox injections to treat a tremor and cramp in his right hand.  He received a total of three Botox treatments at a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hospital between January and July 2007.  Only hours after the third injection, Ray became fatigued, felt weak and caught a fever, followed by a rash, according to Law360.  He was hospitalized on July 20, and developed a severe immune reaction, resulting in brain injury. 

As a result of his injury, Ray became dependent on his wife and home health aids to perform fundamental activities, his lawsuit claims.

Allergan, the maker of Botox, had sent European regulators a letter that contained warnings about Botox, but failed to do so in the U.S. for fear of losing part of a market.  According to Law360, Ray's lawyer said internal Allergan emails showed that company officials said a similar warning in the U.S. would be the "right thing to do."

Allergan makes two versions of Botox, Botox Cosmetic for the treatment of wrinkles, and Botox, which is approved to treat blepharospasm (spasm of the eyelids), cervical dystonia (severe neck muscle spasms), and severe primary axillary hyperhydrosis (excess sweating). In April 2009, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) mandated a black box label for Botox and similar products that warned of the risk of adverse events when the effects of a botulinum toxin injection spreads beyond the site where it was injected.

Last fall, Allergan agreed to a $600 million settlement with the U.S. Justice Department for illegally marketing Botox.  The federal settlement came at the same time media outlets were reporting that Allergan had reached an out-of-court settlement with the family of 70-year-old Sondra Bryant who died in n 2008 after receiving 100 units of Botox to treat shoulder pain. 

Both of those developments followed news that an Oklahoma jury had awarded $15 million to another Botox lawsuit plaintiff who claimed she developed botulism poisoning after receiving Botox treatments for wrinkles.

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