The fourth Levaquin bellwether trial has been scheduled to begin on October 22, 2012. The decision was made following the recent status conference held by Judge John R. Tunheim, who is presiding over the MDL.
Levaquin has remained one of the most popular antibiotic medications prescribed since 2006, but the drug has been the subject of numerous lawsuits after it was found to cause serious side effects including tendon ruptures and rotator cuff tears. Drug giant Johnson & Johnson, which manufactures Levaquin, has had so many lawsuits filed against it that many of the cases have been consolidated into multi-district litigation (MDL) as a means of speeding up the discovery process for each case. This newest MDL is the fourth one to be scheduled for commencement.
To date, more than 1,774 federal lawsuit filings have been consolidated into an MDL in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. It is a part of this MDL that is set to begin in October, as three of the bellwether trials in Minnesota have already been presented to juries. Those previous three trials were used as “test cases” as a means of helping with the overall litigation. The first of the trials resulted in the plaintiff, John Schedin, receiving a $1.8 million verdict. The second two trial resulted in verdicts favoring Johnson & Johnson.
The trials in Minnesota are not the only ones filed against J&J over Levaquin tendon ruptures. There are as many as two thousand more lawsuits that are pending in a state mass tort proceeding in New Jersey. The tendon ruptures and rotator cuff tears are serious injuries that can be very debilitating to the victims. Research has found that Levaquin causes those injuries, and many patients were not properly warned of the dangers before they took the medication. The chances of suffering from those injuries increases in patients who are aged 65 or older, and those patients who are taking corticosteroids.