The U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota has been selected to house dozens of federal Levaquin lawsuits and other product liability claims involving fluoroquinolone antibiotics and peripheral neuropathy. According to an Order issued by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on August 17th, U.S. District Judge John R. Tunheim, who previously presided over a centralized proceeding for Levaquin tendon injury cases, will head up the new multidistrict litigation.
Court records indicate that 78 Levaquin, Cipro and Avelox lawsuits have been filed in federal courts around the U.S. on behalf of individuals who allegedly developed long-term and permanent nerve damage due to treatment with fluoroquinolone antibiotics. Centralization of these cases – as well as any filed in the future – is intended to reduce the risk of duplicative discovery into common issues, avoid conflicting pretrial orders from different courts and to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the courts.
All of the lawsuits in the new proceeding similarly allege that the manufactures of Levaquin and other fluoroquinolones failed to provide adequate warnings regarding their association with peripheral neuropathy. While this side effect was listed on the drugs’ label in 2004, plaintiffs contend that manufacturers mischaracterized the peripheral neuropathy risk as rare, and suggested that the condition was temporary. In 2013, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) did order that the drugs’ labels be modified to better reflect the long-term risk of peripheral neuropathy.
Peripheral neuropathy is a condition marked by debilitating nerve damage that can affect movement and sensation. The condition can cause persistent pain, burning, tingling, numbness, weakness and sensitivity to touch and temperature, and other problems.
The multidistrict litigation process allows a large number of lawsuits involving similar allegations to go through coordinated, pretrial proceedings. Eventually, a representative selection of Levaquin lawsuits, Cipro cases and Avelox lawsuits will be designated for bellwether trials, which are intended to provide insight into how juries might rule in similar cases. Any lawsuits that are not resolved in the course of the multidistrict litigation will be returned to the federal court where they were originally filed for trial.