In January, Johnson & Johnson got a defense verdict in a Levaquin case involving Achilles tendon injuries to a 78-year-old man who alleged that Levaquin did not carry an appropriate warning of the risks of such an injury.
This was the third bellwether trial in the MDL. This win upped J&J’s record in the Levaquin cases to 2-1. J&J lost the first Levaquin lawsuit in December 2010 when a jury awarded $1.8 million in compensation to a Minnesota man. A year ago, it won a defense verdict in state court in New Jersey.
There are always lots of potential appellate issues for both sides in these complex cases. Plaintiff moved for a new trial, contending that the jury’s verdict was against the weight of evidence. Okay, that one pretty much always fails. But the plaintiff also alleged that the trial judge mistakenly failed to exclude a juror who found out in the middle of the trial that their company did some work for J&J.
Last week, the MDL judge denied plaintiff’s motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, finding that a reasonable jury could have ruled as it did and that it was the right call to keep a juror that said they could be impartial, the ultimate catch-all that gets judges past abuse of discretion on that appellate issue.
This case will be appealed, but based on the plaintiff’s arguments here, I can’t say I’m overly optimistic.