One of our blog posts (November 24) just summarized the product liability issues Johnson & Johnson (J&J) is facing with the massive recall of the artificial hip system made by DePuy, one of its many subsidiaries, and the rising tide of lawsuits concerning that product's faulty design and the extreme pain the implant has caused thousands of people.
Now another J&J business unit is in trouble, and the jury verdict just announced does not bode well for the company. A jury in federal court in Minneapolis awarded $700,000 to a plaintiff last week in a case involving the broadly prescribed antibiotic Levaquin. The drug is manufactured by J&J subsidiary Ortho-McNeil-Janssen.
The complainant is an 82-year-old man who ruptured tendons in his heels after taking Levaquin for a respiratory infection several years ago. His attorneys stated that, prior to taking the drug, he was vigorous and active. "He has never fully recovered," they noted, "and is now severely restricted in his activities."
The man's case is likely to be followed by an avalanche of others, being the first of 2,600 claims to go to trial. The jury's award was for compensatory damages based on a failure-to-warn count. Although jurors determined that J&J did not fraudulently conceal information concerning Levaquin's association with tendon injuries, they did find that the company did not provide adequate warnings to doctors and patients regarding the risk.
Punitive damages are still under consideration.
Related Resource: www.bloomberg.com " Johnson & Johnson Ordered to Pay $700,000 Over Flawed Levaquin Warning " December 8, 2010