A “bellwether” is the leading sheep of a flock, with a bell on its neck. It is supposed to lead the way for the following sheep. But what if two bellwethers head in opposite directions?
Johnson & Johnson has faced two “bellwether” lawsuits to determine whether the pharmaceutical should be liable for ruptured achilles’ tendons that afflicted some Levaquin users. (Levaquin was a very effective antibiotic, apparently, but in some cases appears to have caused this painful condition.) Plaintiffs won big in round one. Plaintiffs lost round two.
Plaintiffs’ counsel unsuccessfully challenged the result of the second trial based on issues in connection with jury selection and with decisions of U.S. District Court Judge John R. Tunheim (D. Minn.) with regard to witnesses unavailable to testify live at trial.