Johnson & Johnson has won its most recent Levaquin lawsuit when the jury decided that 84-year-old plaintiff Calvin Christenson’s tendon ruptures were not caused by a lack of proper warning by the drug company; however this outcome is not surprising, in fact, it was practically expected.
Calvin sued Johnson & Johnson and its Ortho-McNeil unit amid claims he tore his Achilles tendon while taking Levaquin by claiming that he wasn’t properly warned against the associated risk of tendon ruptures, but the Minneapolis judge who oversaw the case didn’t agree and ruled in favor of the drug giant. From the beginning of the case, Johnson & Johnson denied any accusations that said it failed to warn the public about the risks of Levaquin and contended that Calvin needed Levaquin to treat the pneumonia. The jury made their decision on June 17th.
One of J&J’s lawyers said, “The jury took a good, hard look at all the evidence and correctly concluded that Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. acted responsibly and properly in disclosing the risks associated with this effective and life-saving medicine.”
This is the second Levaquin case that went to trial; more than 2,500 pending claims in the American courts all are claiming the same thing. During the first trial, J&J and Ortho-McNeil lost when the jury awarded an 82-year-old John Schedin $1.8 million after he ruptured both of his Achilles tendons. Unfortunately for Calvin, the jury this time wasn’t hearing it, but this is not surprising to anyone involved because the Bellwether trial process alternates between plaintiff’s trial picks and defendant trial picks. Calvin’s case just happened to be one of the defendant’s trial picks.
The plaintiff’s lawyer was disappointed because they thought that the FDA waited too long to issue the black box warning against the drug that inevitably caused the injury. While this outcome is not good for Calvin, it is not likely that this outcome will affect decisions in future Levaquin lawsuits as each plaintiff’s case and circumstances is different, and Schedin’s previous win against J&J gives future plaintiffs a good reason to be optimistic.