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Levaquin Settlement Reached to Resolve Tendon Rupture Lawsuits

  • Written by: Austin Kirk
  • 7 Comments

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About 845 plaintiffs have reportedly reached an agreement to settle their Levaquin lawsuits with Johnson & Johnson, resolving about one-third of the claims filed by former users of the popular antibiotic who allegedly suffered tendon ruptures. 

Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturer of Levaquin, currently faces about 3,434 product liability lawsuits filed in state and federal courts throughout the United States.

All of the complaints involve similar allegations that the drug maker failed to adequately research the side effects of Levaquin or warn about the risk of tendon damage that may develop during use.

The Levaquin settlements were disclosed on October 30, during a recent status conference held before U.S. District Judge John R. Tunheim, who is presiding over the consolidated Levaquin litigation pending in the federal court system.

Approximately 1,923 lawsuits filed in federal courts throughout the country are centralized before Judge Tunheim, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. The cases are consolidated for pretrial proceedings as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation.

Johnson & Johnson also faces another 1,509 Levaquin tendon rupture lawsuits that are pending in New Jersey state court, and another two cases pending in Illinois state court.

According to minutes (PDF) from the status conference held before Judge Tunheim earlier this week, the settlement has been reached in a group of cases represented by a small number of law firms. Although the terms of the agreement were reached in September 2012, the parties informed the court that the settlement should be finalized in the next two weeks. Details about the amount of compensation to be paid to the plaintiffs has not been released.

Another 190 plaintiffs are believed to be close to reaching an agreement to settle their Levaquin claims with Johnson & Johnson. The parties also indicated that they are working on a standardized settlement protocol, where plaintiffs will be able to submit their claims for evaluation.

Settlements Come After Series of Levaquin Bellwether Trials

As part of the Levaquin MDL, a small group of cases have been prepared for early trial dates, known as bellwether cases. In complex product liability litigation, the outcomes of these trials are often useful in helping the parties gauge how juries are likely to respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be offered throughout the litigation.

In the first four Levaquin trials that have been presented to federal juries, Johnson & Johnson has successfully defended itself in three of the claims. However, one plaintiff was awarded $1.8 million in damages for a Levaquin tendon rupture in December 2010.  In addition, in at least one of the cases where Johnson & Johnson prevailed, the jury found that the drug maker failed to adequately warn consumers and doctors about the risk of tendon damage from Levaquin, but found that the plaintiff failed to establish that his specific injuries were caused by the antibiotic.

The FDA required Johnson & Johnson and the manufacturers of other similar antibiotics, such as Cipro, to add a black box warning on the tendon rupture risk in July 2009, which is the strongest warning that can be placed on a prescription medication. 

The product liability lawsuits over Levaquin allege that the drug makers should have added the warnings years earlier, as a petition was filed by a consumer group as early as 2006, urging the FDA to require the makers of Levaquin to provide clearer warning about the risk of tendon damage.

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7 comments

  1. c lund Reply

    i was just taking a the antibotic levaquin this week and now i have achilles tendinosis with swelling pain in achilles unable to walk with out pain and missing work..
    what do it to report this.

  2. Julia Reply

    I have had tendon transfer and loss of function as a result of the meds.

  3. carolyn Reply

    I WISH THAT OUR PRESIDENT WOULD TAKE HIS HEAD OUT
    OF THE CLOUDS.DO SOMETHING ABOUT LEVAQUIN IT IS DESTROYING PEOPLES LIVES ONE EVERY MINUTE.THE FDA JUST LOOKS THE OTHER WAY.WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE. I KNOW THAT GREED IS WHY J&J SALES THIS DRUG.

  4. Tyrone Reply

    I ruptured my Achilles while playing basketball in Florida during the Christmas season of 2006.I was given this Antibiotic to treat a staph infection but things only got much worse for me and my family.My body has completely fallen apart since taking this product.Aside being unable to be active,its hard to explain the pain levels my body endures on a daily basis.I have developed what my doctor called tennis elbow and I have done nothing to cause this type of injury.Nerve damage,tendonitis etc has me on pain meds that I will always have to take for the rest of my life.The long term affects besides tendon ruptures are enough to really get a person out of their own head so to speak.Everyday I wake up with the same grim physical outlook.Pain is my life now and I truly wish they had just given me something else besides this drug.Its not fair atall.

  5. Rose Reply

    Carolyn; The President doesn’t approve drugs, the Food and Drug Administration does. Maybe you should spend more time researching the facts of the subject, and less time looking for something else to blame on the President

  6. Jean Reply

    My husband went into the hospital for a lung infection and was given levaquin. We were not told of the side effects of this drug. The day after he was released he thought he broke both ankles and went to emergency where he was told he had tendoniitis due to this drug. He had been told to wear compression sock and they gave him shoes with insoles to wear, however, nothing has worked for him and now his heels are hurting so bad he can barely walk. The doctor said his has osteoporosis in his ankles. It has been 6 months and he is getting worse. What can we do.

  7. Twilla Reply

    I had Bronchitis in January 2016 then it went into phenomenon so I was given Levequin 750 ,a few days later I started hurting in my joints really bad the worst part was my arm & shoulder,went back to Dr she said to stop the Levequin & she gave me a steroid shot didn’t help so dr sent me to a specialist in bone & joints . He also gave me shots but didn’t help”.xrays showed I had rotor cuff & a tear, so had to have surgery.
    Then a couple months later I started having floaters in my eye & flashes of light , got up one morning & couldn’t see out of my eye, went to eye dr he sent me to a specialist 1 1/2 hours away from my home I had a detached retina with a tear, had to have surgery & a gas bubble was placed in my eye, it now has been 3 1/2 weeks & I still cannot see out of my eye the dr says it will take a month to get my sight back. So still waiting and very miserable. So am wondering if all of my problems might be from Levequin 750 ? If anyone knows anything about these problems & how I can find out please let me know

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