Arkansas Supreme Court Hears Appeal of $1.2 Billion Risperdal Lawsuit Verdict

Published on March 3, 2014 by Sandy Liebhard

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Last week, attorneys for Johnson & Johnson and its Janssen Pharmaceuticals subsidiary tried to persuade the Arkansas Supreme Court to overturn a $1.2 billion Risperdal lawsuit verdict the state was awarded in 2012. Among other things, Johnson & Johnson argued that the trial judge who oversaw the case had misapplied the law. The company also maintains that the verdict violated its constitutional right to free speech.

The Arkansas Attorney General had filed suit against Johnson & Johnson and Janssen in 2007, claiming that the drug makers improperly marketed Risperdal for off-label uses, and concealed the medication’s serious side effects. The jury hearing the case agreed, and Circuit Judge Tim Fox ordered the companies to pay $5,000 for each of 240,000 Risperdal prescriptions the state Medicaid program paid for during a 3 1/2-year period. He also assessed fines of $2,500 for each of 4,500 letters Janssen sent to Arkansas doctors touting Risperdal.

Thirty-five other state attorneys general have filed a brief with the Arkansas Supreme Court in support of the verdict, as have 65 of the state’s legislators from both the Republican and Democratic parties.

Other States File Risperdal Lawsuits

The Arkansas lawsuit was one of dozens filed by states that accused Johnson & Johnson and Janssen of wrongly marketing Risperdal. In June 2011 a South Carolina judge ordered J&J to pay $327 million in penalties for deceptive Risperdal marketing.  In January 2012, Johnson & Johnson reached a settlement with the state of Texas, and agreed to pay $158 million to resolve similar charges.

In 2012, a Louisiana jury ordered the companies to pay $257 million to resolve a Risperdal lawsuit brought by that state’s attorney general. However, that verdict was overturned on appeal last month.

This past November, Johnson & Johnson struck a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice to resolve criminal and civil charges involving Risperdal and similar drugs. Under the terms of the settlement, the company agreed to pay $2.2 billion – one of the larges healthcare settlements in U.S. history.

Johnson & Johnson and Janssen continue to face product liability claims over Risperdal, including dozens that allege the drug caused gynecomastia, or male breast growth. Most Risperdal gynecomastia lawsuits have been filed in a consolidated litigation underway in Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas in Pennsylvania.

Are You a Victim of Risperdal Gynecomastia? Contact Our Law Firm Today.

If you or a loved one developed Risperdal gynecomastia, you may have a right to obtain compensation rom Johnson & Johnson and Janssen. For a free lawsuit review, please contact a Risperdal lawyer at Bernstein Liebhard LLP today by calling .