A Pennsylvania state court has rejected a motion to have all peripheral neuropathy lawsuits filed in the state against the manufacturers of Levaquin, Cipro and Avelox centralized in a single mass tort proceeding. A single-paragraph order issued last week in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas did not explain why the Court chose not to grant the cases mass tort status.
Just over 30 product liability claims are pending in the state, all of which involve the alleged link between the use of Levaquin and other fluoroquinolone antibiotics and the onset of peripheral neuropathy. In a motion filed in December, plaintiffs asserted that at least 30 more cases involving similar allegations would soon be filed in Pennsylvania court.
Had a mass tort been created for Pennsylvania’s flouroquinolone docket, all of the lawsuits would have been able to undergo coordinated discovery and other pretrial proceedings. However, Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturer of Levaquin, was opposed to centralization, arguing that a mass tort would not promote efficiency due to the differences between the antibiotics, warning labels and uses. Bayer, the company that markets Avelox, disputed the plaintiffs’ claim that the fluoroquinolone litigation will greatly increase.
The decision in Pennsylvania will have no bearing on the federal multidistrict litigation now underway in the U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota, where at least 350 peripheral neuropathy lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturers of Levaquin, Avelox and Cipro. Those cases continue to move forward.