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Levaquin is an antibiotic, manufactured by Johnson and Johnson ("J&J") subsidiary Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical, Inc. ("Ortho"), a New Jersey corporation. Defendants named in the pending complaints include the both J&J and Ortho plus Johnson and Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development, LLC. Levaquin is the brand name for the broad-spectrum antibiotic levofloxacin and this drug was commonly prescribed since 1996 to treat bacterial infections of the lung, sinus, urinary tract and skin. Use of this drug is allegedly linked to significant tendon-related injuries, including, but not limited to, tendonitis, tendon ruptures and tears.
In July, 2008, the FDA ordered Ortho to include a black box warning on its Levaquin labeling. On June 13, 2008, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Sect. 1407, the federal MDL Panel consolidated all Levaquin litigation in the federal courts under MDL No. 1943 and assigned it to the United States District Court Judge John R. Tunheim in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota. On June 16, 2009, the New Jersey Supreme Court designated all pending and future Levaquin litigation in the New Jersey Superior Court as a mass tort and assigned it for centralized management to Judge Carol E. Higbee in Atlantic County.