Tylenol plaintiffs seeking Pennsylvania forum

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More than 20 plaintiffs who allege their use of over-the-counter Tylenol caused their livers to fail or be poisoned are seeking to have their cases consolidated in a federal multidistrict litigation in front of U.S. District Judge Lawrence F. Stengel of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

The motion was filed by more than 21 plaintiffs represented by Arnold Levin, Laurence S. Berman, Fred S. Longer and Michael M. Weinkowitz of Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman in Philadelphia.

The firm represents 25 plaintiffs who have cases in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, and it is likely drugmaker McNeil will seek to remove them to federal court as it did with the firm's 21 cases already pending in federal court.

The plaintiffs argue the cases involve common questions of fact of whether Tylenol products are defective and common questions of law of whether McNeil failed to properly warn plaintiffs of the risks of liver toxicity.

The plaintiffs said that there are 28 cases involving the same theory of liver disease from acetaminophen-containing Tylenol products.

Twenty-one cases pending in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania already were transferred to Judge Stengel's dockets.

The other seven actions are pending in the Southern District of Mississippi, the Eastern District of California, the Eastern District of New York, the Middle District of Florida, the District of New Jersey, the District of Massachusetts and the Southern District of Florida.

The plaintiff said locating the litigation in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania makes sense because Fort Washington, Pa., and Lancaster are the primary locations in which over-the-counter Tylenol is made.

McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, announced in 2011 that it was reducing the recommended maximum daily dose of its Extra Strength Tylenol in order to lower the risk of accidental overdose from acetaminophen.

Starting sometime this fall, labels on Extra Strength Tylenol packages will now list the maximum daily dose as six pills, or a total of 3,000 milligrams, down from eight pills a day, or 4,000 milligrams. Beginning next year, McNeil will also reduce the maximum daily dose for its Regular Strength Tylenol and other adult pain relievers containing acetaminophen.

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Amaris Elliott-Engel: aelliott-engel@alm.com or 215-557-2354. To read more articles like this, visit www.thelegalintelligencer.com.


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