Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth will hear arguments on Friday for and against splitting off the plaintiffs in a suit over the effects of the drug Levaquin.
The defendants in the case, Johnson & Johnson, Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical Inc., Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development LLC. and Walgreen Co., the owner of Walgreens stores, have asked Ruth to send the claims of plaintiffs Deborah Hildebrandt, Joyce Hoskins, Evelyn Webb, Marilyn Wolffe and Lenora Watson-London back to their home counties.
The defendants claim Madison County is an inconvenient forum. The defendants also allege the plaintiffs are improperly joined and should be split up.
Of the plaintiffs, only Hildebrandt is from Madison County, according to the complaint. The other plaintiffs are listed as citizens of Illinois.
The plaintiffs counter that although the plaintiffs have brought separate actions, their suits allege common questions of law. The plaintiffs further contend that removing the plaintiff's individual claims to their home counties would lead to duplication and more cases to try.
The Hildebrandt plaintiffs allege that Levaquin, an antibiotic aimed at lung and sinus conditions, caused tendon injuries and ruptures.
The plaintiffs claim that they were not made aware of that side effect of the drug and that they were injured.
They are suing on claims of strict liability, negligence, breach of implied warranty, breach of express warranty, common law fraud, and other claims.
The suit seeks unspecified compensatory damages, pre and post-judgment interest, and costs per each of its nine counts.
Hildebrandt's case is one of a series of suits filed over Levaquin in the last year.
Several more Levaquin suits were filed last week in Madison County alleging similar claims.
The case had been assigned to Madison County Circuit Judge Andy Matoesian.
The plaintiffs are represented by Corey Sullivan and Jeffrey Lowe of St. Louis.
All of the defendants but Walgreens are represented by Dan Ball of St. Louis.
The case is Madison case number 09-L-919.