NEC Baby Formula Lawyer

The decision to breastfeed or formula feed is personal, but parents have the right to make an informed decision. One of the risks associated with formula feeding, particularly with regard to premature infants, is the development of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a life-threatening illness that impacts between one and five percent of Neonatal Intensive Care Unit patients.

Large companies that fail to inform consumers about known risks owe substantial compensation to those who are harmed using their products. The conduct of baby formula companies is particularly egregious due to the harm caused to innocent babies. The Lanier Law Firm is committed to ensuring they compensate their victims.

What is necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC)?

Necrotizing enterocolitis is an intestinal disease that affects newborns, primarily those born prematurely, in which the tissue becomes inflamed and dies. The inflamed tissue can become infected, and this infection can spread throughout the body. 

A baby afflicted with NEC can experience a swollen and discolored abdomen, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, difficulty breathing, hypotension, reduced heart rate and severe pain.

What are the risk factors for NEC?

NEC is a newborn disease that develops primarily in premature infants who are formula-fed. The only known preventative action is to feed the baby human milk instead of formula. Cow’s milk-based formula-fed babies have up to a tenfold increased risk of developing NEC.

Prognosis for NEC

Necrotizing enterocolitis is a serious condition that requires early emergency intervention. The prognosis varies based on how early the disease is detected and the required treatment approach.


Treatment for NEC requires that all feeding stop. A tube must be placed from the infant’s mouth to the stomach to empty out any contents. The baby will be fed, hydrated and administered antibiotics intravenously.

If this approach is ineffective, surgery is necessary to remove tissue that has died. While long-term complications are possible in any case of NEC, they are more common after surgery.


The following long-term complications can stem from a case of NEC:

  • Neurodevelopmental impairments
  • Failure to thrive
  • Gastrointestinal problems
    • Strictures – narrowing areas of the intestines that interfere with food passing through   
    • Adhesions – scar tissue
    • Cholestasis – a liver disease
    • Short bowel syndrome – a malabsorption disorder that requires lifelong care and possibly tube feeding
    • Intestinal failure
    • Sepsis – the body’s toxic response to infection, which can cause severe organ damage and death

Mortality Rate

The mortality rate of NEC is 30 to 50 percent.

Why have I never heard of NEC until now?

NEC is considered a rare disorder, even among premature infants, so your doctor may not have mentioned it to you. The infant formula industry does not provide warnings about necrotizing enterocolitis, including products specifically marketed to premature infants.

Who is liable for my baby’s case of NEC?

If your baby was born prior to 37 weeks of gestation and received commercially prepared formula or fortifier prior to the development of NEC, the baby formula company may be responsible.

Baby Formula Marketing

Baby formula was originally formulated to provide mothers who could not breastfeed with an alternative. Despite the overwhelming scientific data that demonstrates breast milk is best for babies during the first six months of life, formula companies routinely discourage breastfeeding on their websites, making false claims about formula’s benefits without disclosing its risks.

A recent report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF reveals the following alarming marketing practices by baby formula companies: 

  • Seeking out women’s social media posts about breastfeeding and sending them direct messages promoting the purported benefits of infant formula
  • Making false and unscientific claims that formula is “close to, equivalent to or better than” breast milk.
  • Providing significant incentives, such as gifts and trips to conferences, to health care workers who promote formula

The WHO found the marketing methods of baby formula companies violated international codes and were exploitative.

Baby Formula Contamination

Powdered baby formula has been recalled more than once due to cronobacter bacteria contamination. This bacteria has been linked to NEC.

Do I have a case against the baby formula companies?

Parents rely on infant formula manufacturers to provide accurate information about their products and to provide safe products free of contamination. 
Withholding information from parents about the known risks associated with infant formula exposes manufacturers to liability. Baby formula manufacturers are liable when the following product deficiencies occur:

  • Design flaw
  • Product defect (such as contamination)
  • Failure to warn

If your baby has been diagnosed with NEC and the following are true, our attorneys can help you build a strong case against the formula manufacturer:

  • Your child was born between 24 and 37 weeks of gestation
  • Your child received infant formula or a fortifier and developed NEC afterward
  • You have experienced complications, including but not limited to the following:
    • Your baby died.
    • Your baby required surgery.
    • Your baby has experienced long-term gastrointestinal complications because of NEC.
    • Your baby has suffered from ongoing neurological conditions, such as cerebral palsy.

You May Be Entitled to Substantial Compensation

The long-term effects of necrotizing enterocolitis take a toll on the child as well as the parents. Some children experience lifelong disabilities and permanent dependence on their parents. The quality of life for the child and the parents can be seriously compromised. 

Financial compensation cannot undo the damage NEC causes, but it can help the family manage the child’s ongoing medical, educational and social needs while also providing financial security to the family.

Types of Compensation Available

The specific compensation available will vary from case to case and from state to state.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are the financial losses you incurred as a result of your child developing NEC. They could include the following:

  • Medical expenses
  • The cost of ongoing care
  • Rehabilitation
  • Educational services
  • Assistive devices
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity for the child
  • Lost business
  • Domestic services

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are the quality-of-life losses that stem from the NEC and can include the following:

  • Pain and suffering of the child
  • Mental anguish and emotional distress of family members
  • Loss of bodily functions
  • Permanent disability
  • Loss of society

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are awarded when it can be proven that the defendant acted with malice, fraud or gross negligence. The makers of infant formulas who continue to knowingly withhold information about the risks their products pose to premature infants while engaging in misleading, exploitative marketing tactics could be liable for punitive damages.

Wrongful Death

The death of your beloved baby after a NEC diagnosis is a devastating event from which families never completely recover. These companies could have prevented the tragic deaths of many babies by providing the proper warnings, marketing ethically and increasing their quality control measures. 

There is no amount of financial compensation that can reduce the pain of your loss. Our attorneys are passionate about holding companies accountable for their failure to prevent such devastating consequences. We can help you and your child receive the following compensation:

  • Burial expenses
  • Funeral expenses
  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering of the child
  • Pain and suffering of the family
  • Loss of companionship
  • Lost future earnings of the child
  • Punitive damages

How long do I have to file an NEC lawsuit?

The statute of limitations varies from state to state. In most states, it is one to three years from the date the injury occurred or the date you became aware of the injury. 

Regardless of your child’s age, if you are just now learning about the connection between NEC and baby formula, you may still have time to file a claim. Our NEC baby formula attorneys can review your case and help you determine your best course of action.

How can an NEC infant formula lawyer help me with my case?

Now that you are aware of the infant formula manufacturer’s role in your baby’s case of NEC, you need a legal team that has experience standing up to large companies. This is our specialty at The Lanier Law Firm. We are passionate about getting justice for individuals who have been harmed because of the blatant negligence of greedy corporations.

We are nationally known for the extraordinary results we achieve on behalf of our deserving clients. Below are just a few examples of our results:

  • $9 billion verdict against Takeda and Eli Lilly for cancer risk caused by their diabetes drug Actos
  • $4.69 billion verdict against Johnson & Johnson in the first trial linking baby powder and asbestos to ovarian cancer 
  • $1.05 billion verdict against DePuy Orthopaedics and Johnson & Johnson for defective hip implants
  • $56.3 million against Caterpillar for an injured worker who became paralyzed using the company’s equipment

We pride ourselves on offering each of our clients compassionate, personalized service. We are accepting cases nationwide. Our offices are strategically located in New York, Houston and Los Angeles. 

Our services cost you nothing up front. We get paid when you do. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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