The federal court overseeing hundreds of lawsuits involving fluoroquinolone antibiotics and peripheral neuropathy has issued the multidistrict litigation’s Initial Case Management Plan. Among other things, the document set sforth protocols and limitations for discovery during the early stages of the proceeding.
Nearly 400 Levaquin, Cipro and Avelox lawsuits are now pending in the multidistrict litigation underway in the U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota. All of the cases were filed on behalf of patients who allegedly developed peripheral neuropathy or sustained permanent nerve damage due to their use of a fluoroquinolone antibiotic. The manufacturers of these medications are accused of concealing this risk, and failing to warn doctors and patients about these serious side effects.
The Case Management Plan issued by the Court on April 26th was established to help the fluoroquinolone litigation move forward efficiently. The document stipulates that fact discovery involving Levaquin is to be completed by May 31, 2017, while Avelox will wrap up on July 31, 2017. Cipro fact discovery will end on September 29, 2017.
The Court has also directed the parties to a submit procedures for the selection of a small group of representative lawsuits that will go through case-specific discovery in preparation for the proceeding’s first bellwether trials. That proposal is due in September 2016. Bellwether trials are an important part of any multidistrict litigation, and often provide insight into how juries might decide similar lawsuits.
Fluoroquinolone antibiotics are indicated to treat a wide array of bacterial infections. According to plaintiffs who have filed Levaquin lawsuits and other claims involving Cipro and Avelox, evidence linking the medications to peripheral neuropathy and nerve damage has been available since 2001. The complications were first noted on the drugs’ labels in 2004. However, in 2013, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) ordered fluoroquinolone manufacturers to modify the labeling to note the possible rapid onset of symptoms, as well as the potential for permanence.
Levaquin and other fluoroquinolones have been linked to a wide range of serious complications, including tendon damage, heart rhythm problems, and aortic dissection and aortic aneurysm. The FDA is currently trying to determine if the drugs’ labeling requires further modification.