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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - (Mealey's) The first trial in New Jersey's Levaquin mass tort litigation ended Oct. 14 with a defense verdict for Johnson & Johnson and subsidiary Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Paul Gaffney v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. L-4551-09-MT, and Robert and Judith Beare v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. L-196-10-MT, N.J. Super., Atlantic Co.).
The jury in the Atlantic County Superior Court found, on 8-1 votes, that Levaquin's warning about tendonitis and/or tendon rupture was not inadequate in April 2006 and January 2008 when plaintiffs Paul Gaffney and Robert and Judith Beare suffered ruptured Achilles tendons.
Gaffney, 67, and Robert Beare, 72, were each prescribed Levaquin, an antibiotic of the fluoroquinolone class, after they developed sinus infections. Each subsequently suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon.
In 2008, Levaquin's label was given a black box warning about the risk of tendon rupture, particularly in patients over 60.
Gaffney and Beare sued Johnson & Johnson and Ortho-McNeil-Janssen in the Superior Court, where the state Levaquin mass tort docket is located.
At trial, the plaintiffs alleged that the defendants inadequately warned them and their doctors of the risk of tendonitis and/or tendon rupture. The defendants argued that the labels were adequate in April 2006, when Gaffney was injured, and in January 2008, when Beare was injured.
Federal Levaquin cases have been filed centralized in a multidistrict litigation in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota where a plaintiff won one trial and the defendants won another. A trial in Minnesota state court resulted in a defense verdict.
There are an estimated 3,000 Levaquin lawsuits filed. Of those, 1,763 are in New Jersey.
[Editor's Note: Full coverage will be in the Oct. 20 issue of Mealey's Emerging Drugs & Devices. In the meantime, the jury verdict forms are available at www.mealeysonline.com or by calling the Customer Support Department at 1-800-833-9844. Gaffney form. Document #28-111020-005V. Beare form. Document #28-111020-006V. For all of your legal news needs, please visit www.lexisnexis.com/mealeys.]
For more information, call editor Tom Moylan at 215-988-7739, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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