A recent lawsuit that focused on Levaquin tendon ruptures is going to continue on as the third bellwether case in the federal MDL in the District of Minnesota. When the defendant in the case, Johnson & Johnson, tried to get a summary judgement on the grounds that a jury is supposed to decide whether Levaquin labels gave enough warning of the tendon rupture risks, Judge John R. Tunheim denied it. The judge also decided that “a jury must hear fraud claims, citing public benefit.”
For this particular lawsuit, the plaintiff, Clifford Straka, says his doctor had the potential to cause the tendon ruptures when she prescribed the drug to her patient. Dr. Baniriah also claimed that she couldn’t remember if she read the warning label when she prescribed it, either. For his part, Straka took his Levaquin as prescribed; in a 10-day regimen, which he took for nine days. It took that long for him to start developing bilateral Achilles tendon ruptures, which is why he wound up filing his Levaquin lawsuit.
While Levaquin-induced tendon rupture risks have been listed on the packaging since 1997, the label had to be modified in 2001 to include the other risks involved with taking the drug. For example; elderly patients aged 65 and older, studies show, are more susceptible to Levaquin tendon risks and so are patients that are taking corticosteroids. As for Straka’s Levaquin lawsuit, Johnson & Johnson tried to get a summary judgement in Straka’s lawsuit because of what it claims are the company’s efforts to warn doctors and consumers with the packaging as was required by the FDA. The company claimed that “failure-to-warn claims fail because the doctor admitted she did not read the full label prior to prescribing the drug to Straka.”
However, since Straka is claiming in his lawsuit that J&J violated the Minnesota Consumer Fraud Act, the judge wants the jury to hear the case. The judge also stated that this lawsuit “may indirectly cause defendants to redress a public safety hazard, a result that would benefit the public.”