Fentanyl Patch Drug Manufacturers Hammered Again by Wrongful Death Verdict | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

In what appears to be at least the third plaintiff’s victory in a suit over Fentanyl patches (also called Duragesic patches), a jury ordered $13.3 million to the family of a Florida woman who died when a faulty pain patch leaked and flooded her  bloodstream with Fentanyl medication, killing her. The verdict was returned in the state circuit court in Seminole County, Florida. In the case, the attorney for the family called two toxicology experts, as well as an expert in the field of absorption of chemicals by the skin of the body. Also, the family’s lawyer had a videotaped deposition of one of the production machine operators employed with a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, called Janssen Pharmaceutica products  LLP. The operator was asked what precautions he and workers at the plant would take when testing the patches and he replied that they wore two sets of gloves. The family’s attorney emphasized that the workers wore a double set of gloves because they didn’t want the gel to get anywhere on their skin.


The jury verdict was returned after 17 days of trial and six hours of deliberations according to Lawyers Weekly USA. The suit also include allegations against a physician’s assistant who was called in the middle of the night when Susan Diane Hodgemeyer, the 34-year-old who died of the overdose, had stomach pains. The physician’s assistant told her to take Pepto Bismol and try to go back to sleep. She died that night however. The jury also found the physicians assistant partly at fault along with the drug manufacturers.


Since that verdict was returned, a Chicago state court jury returned a $16 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson and one of its Fentanyl manufacturer subsidiaries. In that case, a mother also overdosed on Fentanyl because of a faulty patch and because of problems associated with this incredibly dangerous drug/medication. We also have posted other articles on this toxic, lethal drug, and I have blogged on this topic on this website.


Depending upon which expert you believe, Fentanyl is more than 100 times more powerful than morphine. The patches are designed to have the medication very slowly absorbed into the skin, but if for any reason an excess amount of medication leaks onto the skin, it can be lethal and cause death. Multiple wrongful death lawsuits are pending against these manufacturers, and our law firm has accepted at least two wrongful death cases that we are currently investigating on behalf of families whose loved ones died from sudden and unforeseen overdoses of the fentanyl medication.


There are numerous allegations not only against the manufacturers, but against medical providers who are prescribing Fentanyl patches in circumstances that are questionable. Because of the dangers of this medication, the medication is supposed to only be prescribed in cases of chronic pain and originally was used only on cancer victims. The manufacturers have pressed to have these patches applied in a wide array of other circumstances, and that is why sudden overdoses have become more prevalent.  If you or a family member have a question about whether you have a case involving a fentanyl patch overdose or wrongful death, fill out our quick contact form and or call our toll-free number on this website.