Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) Wins Reversal of $1.1 Million Levaquin Punitive Award
12/3/2012 8:01:54 AM
Johnson & Johnson won a reversal of $1.1 million in punitive damages awarded to a man who claimed the company failed to properly warn of the risks of tendon damage linked to its antibiotic Levaquin. While erasing the punitive award, the U.S. Court of Appeals in St. Louis sustained a Minnesota jury’s 2010 finding that J&J failed to warn plaintiff John Schedin. The court also upheld an award of $630,000 in compensatory damages to Schedin, who sued J&J and its Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals unit in 2008. “The evidence is neither clear nor convincing, as a matter of law, that OMJP deliberately disregarded the safety of the users of Levaquin,” U.S. Circuit Judge William Jay Riley said today. Proving deliberate disregard is “required for punitive damages under Minnesota law,” Riley said. J&J has faced more than 3,400 state and federal lawsuits alleging tendon injuries from Levaquin, according to court filings. The company had settled about 845 of them by last month, according to an Oct. 30 filing in federal court in Minneapolis, where a judge is overseeing about 1,900 Levaquin lawsuits.