The nationwide law firm of Bernstein Liebhard LLP recently filed 13 Levaquin lawsuits in New Jersey federal court on behalf of individuals who allegedly developed peripheral neuropathy due to their use of the popular antibiotic. According to a report from The New Jersey Law Journal, the Firm has plans to file at least 10 additional complaints in the near future.
All of Bernstein Liebhard’s cases were filed in the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, between August 1st and 11th. The Firm’s clients allege that Johnson & Johnson and its Janssen Pharmaceuticals unit failed to provide doctors and patients with adequate warnings regarding the risks associated with Levaquin, particularly its potential to cause debilitating nerve damage. Among other things, the complaints assert that information added to the drug’s label in 2004 wrongly characterized peripheral neuropathy as a rare side effect, and one that could be avoided by discontinuing Levaquin should certain symptoms appear.
In 2013, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) ordered the manufacturers of Levaquin and other fluoroquinolone antibiotics to modify their prescribing information so as to better reflect the rapid onset of peripheral neuropathy symptoms, as well as the potential for permanence. However, Bernstein Liebhard’s Levaquin clients contend that the drug’s current label remains “inadequate and confusing.”
The 13 Levaquin lawsuits filed by the Firm involve a total of 18 plaintiffs. Those allegedly suffering from fluoroquinolone-induced peripheral neuropathy have experienced a variety of symptoms, ranging from tingling extremities to severe disability.
“It’s sad what happens to these plaintiffs. I have at least one client who cannot walk and is wheelchair-bound,” Dae Yeol Lee, an attorney with Bernstein Liebhard LLP, told The New Jersey Law Journal.
It’s expected that all of Bernstein Liebhard’s cases will eventually be transferred to the U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota, where federally-filed peripheral neuropathy lawsuits involving Levaquin, Cipro and Avelox were centralized last year in order to facilitate coordinated pretrial proceedings. At least 396 lawsuits were pending in the federal multidistrict litigation as of August 15th.
According to The New Jersey Law Journal, this is the second large products liability litigation to involve Levaquin side effects. In 2008, another multidistrict litigation was established in the District of Minnesota for cases filed over the drug’s potential to cause tendinitis and tendon ruptures. Johnson & Johnson settled around 845 of those suits in 2012 for an undisclosed amount.