A Missouri federal court has remanded a Risperdal and Invega lawsuit to the 22nd Circuit Court for the City of St. Louis, after finding that non-diverse plaintiffs’ claims were not fraudulently joined. According to a report published by HarrisMartin.com, the case was filed on behalf of a dozen plaintiffs who experienced gynecomastia and other side effects allegedly related to treatment with the antipsychotic medications.
Johnson & Johnson and other defendants had removed the case to the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri, for diversity jurisdiction. The 12 plaintiffs are citizens of Missouri, New Jersey, Indiana, Alabama, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Texas, West Virginia, Idaho, California, and Nevada. In their Motion for Remand, they argued that the non-diverse plaintiffs were properly joined, and asserted that the federal court lacked subject matter jurisdiction in the absence of complete diversity. The federal Court granted the plaintiffs’ motion in an Order dated February 7th.
“In this case, common issues of law and fact are likely to arise because the plaintiffs all allege that they sustained injuries from the use of Risperdal or Invega,” the Order states. “Defendants have therefore failed to meet their burden to establish that plaintiffs’ claims are fraudulently joined, and the Court finds that there are ‘colorable claims’ here.”
Risperdal and Invega are both atypical antipsychotic medications manufactured by Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals subsidiary. According to RXInjuryHelp.com, Risperdal’s active ingredient (risperidone) stimulates the body to produce excess amounts of prolactin, a hormone that plays a role in female breast development and lactation. Higher-than-normal prolactin levels are also thought to play a role in gynecomastia, or the excessive growth of breast tissue in men and boys. Because Invega contains an active metabolite of risperidone, it has a similar prolactin-elevating effect.
Thousands of Risperdal and Invega lawsuits have been filed in courts around the U.S. on behalf of men and boys who allegedly experienced the growth of female-like breasts due to their side effects. A mass tort proceeding underway in Pennsylvania’s Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas has convened several Risperdal gynecomastia trials over the past two years, four of which ended with verdicts for the plaintiffs and damage awards ranging from $70 million to $500,000. Jurors declined to award damages in a fifth case, while a sixth lawsuit was dismissed mid-trial for lack of evidence. Undisclosed settlements have also been reached in several Pennsylvania Risperdal cases just before trials were scheduled to begin.
In 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a landmark $2.2 billion settlement with Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceutical that, among other things, resolved claims that they had improperly marketed Risperdal and Invega for off-label use in children and elderly dementia patients. The government had also accused the companies of paying kickbacks to doctors and pharmacies that prescribe the antipsychotic drugs, as well as a heart failure medication called Natrecor.
Bernstein Liebhard LLP is actively filing Risperdal and Invega lawsuits on behalf of men and boys with gynecomastia. To discuss filing your own lawsuit with a member of our legal team, please call (888) 995-5099 to arrange for a free, no-obligation case review.