The federal court overseeing hundreds of lawsuits filed on behalf of individuals who are alleged to have suffered debilitating nerve damage from Avelox and Cipro is preparing to select cases for the litigation’s second round of bellwether trials.
According to an Order issued in the U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota, on August 17th, cases eligible for Phase II bellwether trials include those in which the plaintiff alleges:
No cases in which the plaintiff alleges injury from any product in combination with other fluoroquinolone antibiotics can be included as a Phase II Case.
Initially, plaintiffs and defendants will each select 9 Avelox and Cipro lawsuits (for a total of 18) for inclusion in the Phase II bellwether trial pool. Each sides’ selections are to consist of 7 Avelox lawsuits and 2 Cipro cases.
Following the completion of case-specific discovery for the Phase II lawsuits, and on a date to be determined by the Court, the parties will submit briefs identifying the Avelox and Cipro lawsuits they believe should serve as the Phase II Trial Cases. The Court will then select 8 lawsuits to serve as the Phase II Trial Cases that will proceed thru expert discovery.
Fluoroquinolone antibiotics like Cipro and Avelox are indicated to treat pneumonia and other serious bacterial infections. However, these drugs are also frequently prescribed for more routine illnesses, including ear infections and urinary tract infections.
Plaintiffs pursuing Avelox and Cipro lawsuits in the multidistrict litigation currently underway in the District of Minnesota claim that the drugs’ manufacturers failed to adequately warn doctors and patients about the potential for fluoroquinolone antibiotics to cause peripheral neuropathy, which they assert was recognized as early as 2011.
Fluoroquinolone labels were initially updated to note peripheral neuropathy as a potential side effect in December 2004. However, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) ordered stronger warning in August 2013, after an agency review determined that the prescribing information did not adequately describe the “potential rapid onset and permanence” of peripheral neuropathy symptoms. Among other things, the FDA ordered drug makers to remove wording that characterized peripheral neuropathy as a “rare” occurrence from fluoroquinolone labels.
More than 700 peripheral neuropathy lawsuits filed against the manufacturers of Cipro, Avelox, and other fluoroquinolone antibiotics have been consolidated in the District of Minnesota for coordinated pretrial proceedings. Verdicts in the litigation’s bellwether trials may provide insight into how other juries could rule in similar claims.
While the Court has not yet set dates for the second round of Avelox and Cipro trials, the first round of Avelox bellwether trials kicks off this November. A first Cipro trial will be convened in March 2019.