Risperdal Lawsuit Plaintiffs, Johnson & Johnson Spar Over Punitive Damages in Pennsylvania Litigation

Published on March 31, 2014 by Sandy Liebhard

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Hundreds of Risperdal lawsuit plaintiffs who have cases pending in a Pennsylvania mass tort proceeding have asked the Court to preserve their right to collect punitive damages should they prevail in their claims. The lawsuits, all of which are pending in Pennsylvania’s Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, include dozens of claims filed on behalf of men and boys who allegedly developed Risperdal gynecomastia, or male breast growth.

The issue of punitive damages was first raised in January, when Johnson & Johnson filed a motion seeking a summary judgment on such claims. At the time, the company argued that because it’s headquartered in New Jersey, that state’s product liability law should apply. The New Jersey Product Liability Act stipulates that punitive damages can’t be assessed in lawsuits that involve a medication that was subject to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA’s) premarket approval process, as Risperdal was.

But in a response filed on March 24th, plaintiffs argued that Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals unit took a different position in 2012 when it settled a number of Risperdal gynecomastia lawsuits pending in the proceeding.

“Specifically, in this mass tort litigation Janssen has repeatedly argued that the law of the state where Risperdal was prescribed, ingested and marketed governs the issue of punitive damages,” the plaintiff’s motion states.

The plaintiffs’ motion also argues that Pennsylvania laws should apply to the Risperdal lawsuits, as the company maintained offices in Pennsylvania and that Janssen officials met in the state in recent years to discuss strategies for marketing Risperdal.

80+ Risperdal Gynecomastia Settlements Reached in Pennsylvania

At least 350 Risperdal lawsuits have been filed in Pennsylvania on behalf of individuals who allegedly suffered serious side effects, including gynecomastia, due to their use of the antipsychotic medication. In 2012, Johnson & Johnson and Janssen reached settlements in the first six gynecomastia lawsuits selected for bellwether trials. Court documents indicate that since then, some 80 Risperdal gynecomastia claims have been resolved in the proceeding.

All of the Risperdal lawsuits involving male breast development accuse Johnson & Johnson and Janssen of concealing the link between the drug and gynecomastia. The lawsuits also claim that the companies improperly marketed Risperdal for off-label uses, including for use in adolescent boys before pediatric indications were approved in 2006.

Men and boys who allegedly developed Risperdal gynecomastia may be entitled to file their own Risperdal lawsuit in order to obtain compensation from Johnson & Johnson and Janssen. To learn more about this growing litigation, please contact Bernstein Liebhard LLP today by calling .