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Among Several Antibiotics In The Fluoroquinolone Class, Levaquin Has The Most Tendon Injury Lawsuits Filed To Date

Federal Court Levaquin MDL Is Followed By "Mass Tort" Designation In New Jersey For Levaquin Lawsuits Concerning Tendon Injuries

In July 2008 the FDA announced that a “black box” warning for various types of tendon injuries would be added to the package insert, or label, of several fluoroquinolone antibiotics.  Among the many antibiotics in that group are Cipro, Avelox, and, of course, Levaquin.  Although the tendon rupture and severe tendinitis side effects have been associated with each antibiotic in the fluoroquinolone class of drugs, Levaquin (levofloxacin) has drawn significantly more lawsuits than the other drugs, to date.

The Levaquin lawsuits which have been filed in the federal court system have all been assigned to an MDL, or Multidistrict Litigation, over which the Honorable John R. Tunheim is presiding.  The federal court Levaquin MDL, specifically MDL No. 08-1943 in the District of Minnesota, is scheduled to have its first test case in August of 2010.

More recently, on June 16, 2009, the New Jersey Supreme Court designated all pending and future Levaquin litigation in the New Jersey state court system as a "mass tort", and assigned all New Jersey Levaquin lawsuits to Superior Court Judge Carol E. Higbee in Atlantic County for centralized case management.  Notably, Judge Higbee was assigned previously to oversee the thousands of Vioxx lawsuits that had been filed in the New Jersey.

Although Johnson & Johnson, manufacturers of Levaquin, had requested Middlesex County, NJ -- mainly because of its headquarters being located there, in New Brunswick, NJ -- Atlantic County was chosen for a variety of reasons.  First, Atlantic County did not have the crowded docket of other mass tort matters, whereas Middlesex County had seven active mass torts at the time the New Jersey Supreme Court made its designation for the Levaquin cases.  Second, the experience of Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Higbee and her staff from handling the Vioxx litigation made it an attractive location for these growing number of Levaquin cases.

It is projected that many new lawsuits filed on behalf of people who have Levaquin tendon injury cases will now be filed in New Jersey as a result of this recent mass tort designation for Levaquin.

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