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Fentanyl Pain Patch Overdose Lawsuits

By Danielle Briones

Published on April 29, 2009

Since the Fentanyl pain patch was released to the U.S. market, hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against manufacturers of the product, as well as health care providers. These lawsuits allege that Fentanyl transdermal pain patches are defective, product warning labels fail to adequately warn patients of its potential dangers, and health care professionals have failed to properly use and prescribe the medication.

Below is a review of Fentanyl lawsuits that have led to favorable settlements and verdicts.

More Than $16.5 Million Verdict in Illinois Fentanyl Overdose Death Case

In December of 2008, a Chicago jury found Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries, Alza Corporation and Janssen Pharmaceutica Products, liable for the death of a 38-year-old Cicero, Illinois woman who died while wearing a Duragesic Fentanyl pain patch, awarding $16,560,000 to the family of the victim.

Janice DiCosolo died in February 2004 after the pain patch she was wearing delivered an overdose of fentanyl. She was using the pain patches to treat chronic neck pain.

The DiCosolo family's attorneys argued that the pain patch used by the victim was defective and allowed a fatal dose of Fentanyl to enter her system.

Attorneys for Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries argued that medical reports showed that DiCosolo had as many as five drugs in her system and that her death was the result of mixing medications.

Johnson & Johnson's attorneys say they are not happy with the verdict and are planning an appeal.

Jury Awards $13 Million to Family of Florida Woman Who Died from Fentanyl Overdose

In October of 2008, a Sanford, Florida jury awarded $13.3 million to the family of a 34-year-old mother of five who died as a result of a Fentanyl overdose, finding that Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries, Alza Corporation and Janssen Pharmaceutica Products, as well as a physician's assistant were responsible for the death.

Susan Hodgemire died in 2002 after using the Duragesic Fentanyl pain patches following back surgery.

Hodgemire's family filed suit against the manufacturers of the drug claiming they failed to adequately warn patients about the possible dangers of the drug. They also sued Hodgemire's physician's assistant for providing negligent medical advice.

The jury found that Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries were 80 percent liable for Hodgemire's death, while the physician's assistant was 20 percent responsible.

Johnson & Johnson's attorneys say they do not agree with the verdict and are looking at options to appeal.

Johnson & Johnson Hit with $5.5 Million Florida Jury Verdict in Defective Fentanyl Patch Case

In June of 2007, the family of a 28-year-old Florida man who died while wearing a Duragesic Fentanyl pain patch on his right arm was awarded a $5.5 million jury verdict in their case against Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries, Alza Corporation and Janssen Pharmaceutica Products, the manufacturers of the Duragesic Fentanyl pain patch.

Adam Hendelson died in December of 2003 while wearing a 75-microgram Duragesic Fentanyl transdermal pain patch. Doctors later determined that he died as a result of a Fentanyl overdose. Hendelson had previously been injured in an auto accident and suffered from chronic hip pain; physicians prescribed the Fentanyl pain patch to him to help control the pain.

The jury found that the Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries were negligent in the production of the pain patches, leading to use of defective patches; and that the companies failed to adequately advise consumers of the potential dangers of the patch.

Johnson & Johnson denied any wrongdoing during the trial, but have since issued updates on the proper use of the product and its potential dangers. The company planned to appeal the $5.5 million verdict; however, in July of 2007, Johnson & Johnson agreed to drop its appeal of the case as part of a $2.5 million settlement with the Hendelson family.

Texas Woman's Family Obtains More than $750,000 Recovery in Fentanyl Overdose Suit

In July of 2006, a Houston, Texas jury found Johnson & Johnson responsible for the death of a 42-year-old woman who died of a Fentanyl overdose, awarding $772,500 in damages to her family.

Michaelynn Thompson died in 2004 while wearing a Duragesic pain patch. She used the pain patches to treat chronic pain resulting from a previous car accident.

Thompson's family filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, alleging that Duragesic Fentanyl pain patches had a manufacturing defect that allowed the powerful Fentanyl drug to leak in an uncontrolled manner. Medical reports showed that Thompson had 10 times the recommend dose of Fentanyl in her system when she died.

The jury deliberated for seven hours before finding Johnson & Johnson liable for Thompson's death.

A $1.6 Million Nursing Home Settlement Awarded to California Victim of Fentanyl Overdose

In July of 2005, Ruth Lomeo was admitted to Edgemoor Geriatric Hospital, a county-run nursing home, for the treatment of Lupus. Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the body's own tissues and organs. During Lomeo's hospital stay, physicians ordered the nursing home staff to treat Lomeo's chronic pain by placing Fentanyl pain patches on alternating arms every 48 hours.

According to the plaintiff, on July 25, 2005, two Fentanyl pain patches were placed on one of Lomeo's arms, while another patch was left on the other arm. The resulting Fentanyl overdose caused Lomeo to experience respiratory problems; however, the staff waited more than 20 minutes to call 911 and request emergency services. The suit alleged that the Fentanyl overdose, combined with the delay in medical attention, caused brain damage due to lack of oxygen flow to the brain.

The County of San Diego, which runs Edgemoor Geriatric Hospital, opted to settle the suit for $1.6 million in November of 2008; a representative for the county denies any liability on the part of the county, and says the decision to settle the case was business-based and intended to avoid a potentially costlier jury verdict.

If you have suffered from adverse health effects following use of the Fentanyl pain patch, contact a defective drugs attorney as soon as possible for a review of your case.


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Keyword Tags: pharmaceutical litigation, defective products, featured



iam wearing duragesic patch right now, and been wearing one for about 2 month, what possible side affects can i have, too make sure iam not going to die.
still wearing one to this day, for shingles.

bruce meeks sr, over 5 years ago


death is certain for everyone so no one can "make sure" you won't die. no one is forcing you to wear the patch. All RX is poison of some sort, stop wearing it if you want to be sure it won't kill you.

grim reaper, over 5 years ago


as long as you are responsible/loyal with/to the pain meds you take, you shouldn't have to many problems! i have been on the patch before and i have lost a young 18 year old cousin to it (the mis-use of it) and it was just to much for me! the patch is NOT for everyone! i am now back on the rx drug i was on before the patch! my life is what it is because of the pain relief i get from my meds but like any drug it has the potential to kill responsible!!

deb, over 5 years ago


I cannot take most all of the pain pills when I have surgery as am alergic to them. What can you tell me about the pain patches as I am going to have surgery on right knee in near future. I have used the Fentyl patch for some minor surgery without any problems but have been reading about all the lawsuits on it now. Any help is appreciated.
Carol of Omaha

Carol, over 5 years ago


I have used fentyl patches for about 3 or 4 months, The first month i went back to the pain mangement and complained about my right arm having extreme muscle pain , they raised the dosage, about 2 months later my neck and shoulder started with extreme muscle pain , to the point i was in unbarable pain, after taken the fentyl patches off , I felt like I had the flu, 2 days later , I was much better, went back to pericott, now I'm having muscle spasums in my hands and feet. Is this from the patches, or maybe other meds that I 've taken, I have been told that I have nueorapathy from the chemo

Rob, over 5 years ago


I have been using the fentanyl patch for nearly 10 years and have never had a problem. So long as you are responsible and use it as precribed everything should be fine.

Ahuva, over 5 years ago


All I know is my 37 year old daughter, who has three kids to raise died from fentanyl overdose. She was first given the patch on Dec 1st and died on Dec 25, She was using it as prescribed and she still died. so in my opinion it is not a safe medication. Yes I am angry.

Billie, about 5 years ago


My best friend died on the 4th of July from a fentanyl overdose.
He was a known opiate addict, and yet found it easy to obtain this very dangerous drug from a licensed physician.
Even though he had been to several area rehab clinics for treatment, and placed on the methadone clinic, as well as soboxone for his addiction, this doctor failed to properly screen him for this opioid prescription which proved fatal.
He leaves only a brother, a sister, and his mother behind, and so any award from a lawsuit to his family will be small, from what we're being told.
Something should be done to further regulate the prescribing of this deadly drug!

Ralph Wasson, almost 5 years ago


My wife suffered from stage IV breast cancer. She had a fetanyl patch applied at 11:45 am and died at 9:40 PM. Did the patch cause the death? God only knows.

Ron, almost 5 years ago


I woke up this morning & felt like I was going to die, really disoriented. No one told me not to use a heating pad when the patch was on. I'm throwing mine away.

Lucinda johnsen, over 4 years ago


I wore the pain patch for many years. Suddenly weird things started to happen. I broke out in a weird rash and started itching like crazy. My doctor had not seen this before. This continued for weeks, even after trying several different creams and meds. Now my skin looks like croc skin and no amount of lotion helps the way it looks. I also can no longer work in the yard, because the sun actually makes my skin hurt. I tried talking with an attorney, but they were only taking cases where someone died. What about us people who have been damaged for life?

Vicki, over 4 years ago


my sister in law wore the patch for 3 days, while taking other meds for pain. a friend gave her the patch which she cut in half and wore. the fourth day she took it off. that night she almost died the paramedics got her breathing again. she is ok now in ICU. i know its her fault. i hope a lesson learned

bill, over 4 years ago


My daughter died 7 months ago today at the age of 27.She was given half of a FENTANYL Patch for pain in her broken ankle from a GOOD FRIEND,she laid on the floor and slowly died,no brain activity results in no oxygen and DEATH.How GOOD is your product NOW.

kim, about 4 years ago


my 61 yr old grandmother just overdosed from the patch and is currently in the hospital..her doctor perscribed it to her knowing she has COPD. and she didnt want to take the patch but the doc. insisted andshe did... this past monday family walked into her bedroom to find her unresponsive and barley breathing but because she was on oxygen she stayed alive i would hate to think what would have happened had she not been on a result the nurses tell us she was throwing up in her sleep but because she was overdosed and out of it she couldn't even feel herself throwingup and ended up breathing everything in now suffers from the lord be with her......GET THIS DRUG OFF THE MARKET!!!!

ashley , about 4 years ago


I found my sister a 43 year old woman dead two days ago from an overdose of Fentanyl patches my family is still in shock that she is gone I am looking into this meds, she had back pain for years from an injury at her work. We just don't know what to do.

casey, about 2 years ago

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