On September 26, 2014, Noah Smith frantically called his father. He told him he had taken some pills, and that “his heart was racing, that he could not think straight, and that he was desperately afraid something was very wrong with him.” Noah then collapsed, and died of cardiac arrhythmia.
The pills he took were Stay Awake tablets, caffeine pills sold over the counter at gas stations nationwide. Now Noah’s family is suing A&Z Pharmaceutical Inc., who manufactured the pills, claiming they contain dangerous amounts of caffeine, lack proper warnings, and marketed and sold to children.
Products liability claims are based one (or more) of three claims:
- There was a design defect that rendered the product unreasonably dangerous to consumers;
- There was a manufacturing defect that dangerously departed from the intended design; or
- There was a warning defect, whereby the product lacked adequate instructions or warnings.
The Smith family alleges the caffeine-packed Stay Awake pills were defective by design and lacked the proper warnings. “A&Z knew or should have known that this product is not safe for children, including Noah Smith, and that this product poses an unreasonably dangerous risk of adverse cardiac affects and/or death in children,” their lawsuit claims. “Noah Smith did not have knowledge of any condition of the caffeine tablet that was inconsistent with his safety, he did not appreciate the danger of the defective condition; and he did not deliberately or voluntarily choose to expose himself to the danger.”
Drug Law Changes
Noah’s death has already led to new laws in his native Mississippi. The eponymous “Noah’s Law” bans the sale of caffeine pills and powders to minors in Oxford. Many other cities and states regulate caffeine sales to children.
After the law passed, Noah’s mother Jennifer Westmoreland told the Oxford Eagle, “I’m so glad. I truly feel like we are finally getting somewhere and so many of our elected officials actually do care about what’s going on. I know Noah is smiling from heaven seeing that his death was not in vain and we are working together to save the lives of the children in Mississippi.”
If a dangerous drug has injured you or your child, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney about your case.
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