Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals unit is looking to overturn the massive $70 million Risperdal verdict awarded last July to a gynecomastia victim in Pennsylvania’s mass tort program. According to The Legal Intelligencer, the drug maker filed a brief on January 16th listing what it claims were errors made by the trial court during the litigation of the case.
The lawsuit was the fifth male breast growth claim to go to trial in the Risperdal mass tort program currently underway in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. The trial produced the litigation’s largest verdict thus far. The plaintiff, who was 16-years-old at the trial’s start, began taking Risperdal in 2003, when he was just 5-years-old. At the time, the drug had not been approved for use in children.
Following two weeks of testimony, the unanimous jury ruled that the Risperdal’s manufacturers had failed to provide adequate warnings regarding its association with gynecomastia. Jurors also found that Janssen had “intentionally falsified, destroyed or concealed records containing material evidence.” That finding allowed the plaintiff, a resident of Tennessee, to recover more than the state’s $750,000 cap on economic damages.
This is not the first time Janssen has sought to have the $70 million Risperdal verdict overturned. Several months ago, the judge who had proceeded over the trial rejected all of the company’s post-trial motions.
Risperdal is an antipsychotic medication used to treat schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders. Court records indicate that more than 2,600 Risperdal lawsuits are now pending in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, most of which involve gynecomastia. In September, Johnson & Johnson reported that more than 15,000 product liability claims involving Risperdal side effects had been filed in state and federal courts around the U.S.
So far, six male breast growth trials have been convened in Philadelphia, with plaintiffs prevailing in four. Verdicts have ranged from $500,000 to $70 million. Jurors declined damages in a fifth case, while a sixth lawsuit was dismissed mid-trial for lack of evidence. Confidential Risperdal settlements have also been reached in several cases just before trials were scheduled to begin. Despite the poor showing at trial, Johnson & Johnson and Janssen have not indicated any willingness to enter into a global settlement that would resolve the litigation.
Bernstein Liebhard LLP has been retained by a number of Risperdal gynecomastia plaintiffs. If you are considering filing a similar lawsuit, please call (888) 995-5099 to get in touch with an attorney today.