Panel MDLs launched Abbott’s new infant formula, Merck’s Gardasil

The Abbott Laboratories logo is displayed on a screen at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, United States. REUTERS / Brendan McDermid

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  • Abbott has not disputed MDL in Chicago, where separate claims about premature illness remain pending
  • Claims that Merck’s HPV Vaccine Caused Autoimmune Disease Head to North Carolina

(Reuters) – A federal judicial commission has created new federal mass torture repositories to deal with allegations that babies who contracted formula diseases from an Abbott Laboratories factory closed earlier this year due to safety concerns, and that Merck & Co’s Gardasil vaccine against the virus HPV has caused a serious autoimmune disease. Circumstances.

The Multi-District Litigation Tribunal on Friday transferred 18 lawsuits over the Abbott formula — including 17 proposed class actions — to U.S. District Judge Matthew Keneally in Chicago. A separate multi-district (MDL) lawsuit, including 97 lawsuits, over allegations that Abbott’s formula led to fatal disease in premature infants, is already pending in that region before U.S. District Judge Rebecca Palmer.

Prosecutors in the new MDL allege that their children became ill after consuming plant-based formula milk. Abbott, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment, said there was no evidence that she had sold any contaminated formula.

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Sam Geisler of Aylstock, Whitkin and Chris Overholtz, attorney for some of the plaintiffs, said in a statement he was pleased with the commission’s order.

“On behalf of all families affected by Abbott’s neglect of safety and heinous misconduct, we will continue to fight back and hold them accountable,” he said.

The company earlier this year withdrew batches of the formula voluntarily from its Sturgis, Michigan plant, after FDA inspectors found unsafe conditions and bacterial contamination and ordered it shut down. The shutdown, which lasted until early July, contributed to a nationwide shortage of formula.

The order came a day after the commission sent 31 lawsuits over Gardasil, Merck’s vaccine against potentially carcinogenic human papillomavirus (HPV), to U.S. District Judge Robert Conrad in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Prosecutors in the cases claim that the vaccine caused an autoimmune reaction that leads to a wide range of problems including postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, which can cause dizziness and fainting.

“Our clients are looking forward to having their day in court,” said Bijan Esfandiari of Baum Hedlund Aristi and Goldman, attorney for the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

Merck said in a statement that “the overwhelming amount of scientific evidence” shows that its vaccines are safe and effective.

The company opposed the creation of the MDL, arguing that the plaintiffs allege various injuries and must sue their claims individually. However, the panel found that the basic scientific theory behind the cases was the same and that they would all include similar evidence.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends HPV vaccination for all children 11 or 12 years old. Gardasil, which can be given in two or three doses, is the only HPV vaccine approved in the United States.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 75% of children ages 13 to 17 received at least one dose of the vaccine in 2020, the most recent year for which survey data is available.

The formula case is in the re-subpoena of Abbott Children’s Formula Products liability lawsuit, US District Court, Northern District of Illinois, case number not yet set.

For the plaintiffs: Sam Geisler and Brian Eilstock of Eylstock, Whitkin, Chris Overholtz and others

Abbott: James Hurst of Kirkland and Ellis

The Gardasil case is in the Gardasil Products Liability Litigation Case, US District Court, Western District of North Carolina, case number not yet assigned.

To the plaintiffs: Bijan Esfandiari of Baum Hedlund Aristi, Goldman et al

For Merck: Goldman’s Alison Julian Ismail Tomaselli Brennan and Bohm

Note: This article has been corrected to state that the new Abbott MDL is in front of Judge Keneally, and the Premature Baby MDL is in front of Judge Pallmeyer.

Read more:

Prosecutors in infant formula litigation to lobby for cases to be consolidated at MDL hearing

FDA probe at Abbott facility finds quality control issues

Abbott says it has reopened its Michigan infant formula factory

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Brendan Pearson

Thomson Reuters

Brendan Pearson reports on product liability claims and in all areas of health care law. He can be contacted at [email protected]