Peripheral Neuropathy Cases Over Levaquin, Avelox, Cipro Mount in Recently Formed MDL
A growing number of Levaquin lawsuits, Avelox lawsuits and Cipro lawsuits continue to be transferred into the recently formed federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) for peripheral neuropathy cases involving the popular antibiotics, as parties await an initial status conference with the judge.
Since August, about 200 complaints filed in U.S. District Courts throughout the country have been transferred to the District of Minnesota, where the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation established centralized pretrial proceedings for all case alleging that the makers of a class of antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones failed to adequately warn about the risk that users may be left with long-term nerve damage.
As lawyers continue to review and file lawsuits for individuals diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy following use of Levaquin, Avelox or Cipro, it is ultimately expected that several thousand claims will be involved in the litigation.
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The cases are consolidated before U.S. District Judge John R. Tunheim for coordinated discovery into common issues in that will be raised throughout the litigation, to avoid conflicting pretrial rulings from different judges and to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the Courts.
As part of the coordinated management, it is expected that Judge Tunheim will appoint a group of plaintiffs lawyers to serve in leadership roles during the discovery and pretrial proceedings, taking certain actions that will benefit all plaintiffs involved in the litigation.
It is also expected that a bellwether program will be established, where a small group of representative peripheral neuropathy cases will be prepared for early trial dates to help the parties gauge the relative strengths and weaknesses of their claims and potentially promote settlement negotiations with the drug makers.
While the litigation has been centralized for more than 60 days, Judge Tunheim has not yet scheduled an initial status in the MDL, where the organizational structure of the pretrial proceedings will be established.
About Antibiotic Peripheral Neuropathy Risks
The peripheral neuropathy cases pending in the MDL have emerged since the FDA required new warnings for all fluoroquinolone-based antibiotics.
While prior warnings provided with drugs like Levaquin, Avelox and Cipro indicated that some users experienced nerve damage, the drug makers suggested that the problems were rare and often resolved when the antibiotic was no longer used.
In August 2013, the FDA required the makers of all fluoroquinolones to provide information about the long-term risk of peripheral neuropathy from the antibiotics, indicating problems may last for months or years after an individual stops taking the drug.
Peripheral neuropathy involves damage to the nerves that may impair sensation, movement and other aspects of health. This may leave users with persistent pain, burning, tingling, numbness, weakness and sensitivity to light touches, temperature and motion in the arms and legs, as well as other problems that cause a major disruption to daily activities.
Plaintiffs allege that the makers of Levaquin, Avelox and Cipro should have provided these warnings years ago, noting that the first indication of a possible link between long-term peripheral neuropathy and fluoroquinolone antibiotics came in a study published in 2001. If adequate warnings had been provided about the risk of permanent neuropathy problems, plaintiffs indicate that they may have avoided painful and debilitating injuries.
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