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Wal-Mart Settlement

Apr 18, 2003 | www.msnbc.com Wal-Mart Inc. has agreed to pay $175,000 to the family of an infant given a wrong prescription at one of its pharmacies and up to $500,000 more if the child develops additional health problems stemming from the mistake.

A legal analyst said the settlement based on the victim’s future condition is unusual, and might help limit jury awards in similar cases.

In 1998, 4-month-old Taylor Lang of Cairo, Ill., was diagnosed with croup. Her pediatrician prescribed the expectorant Guaifenesin. The child’s parents filled the prescription at the Wal-Mart pharmacy in nearby Charleston, Mo.

The pharmacy mistakenly gave the parents a bottle of Grifulvin, an anti-fungal agent used to treat ringworm, said Thomas Neill, one of the Langs’ attorneys.

Taylor developed severe diarrhea, stomach cramps and lethargy. Testing showed elevated liver enzymes, but her levels soon returned to normal. There is currently no evidence of liver damage.

Details of the settlement were outlined in Missouri Lawyers Weekly, a trade publication. Wal-Mart spokeswoman Danette Thompson said a confidentiality agreement prohibited her from discussing the agreement.

“The Langs and Wal-Mart came up with a creative solution, and if this legal strategy is used more often, we may even see a reduction on huge settlements and awards, which factor in all potential care costs,” said Ken Jones, the publication’s editor.

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