A new report indicates that the Risperdal litigation currently underway in Philadelphia ranked among Pennsylvania’s fastest-growing mass tort programs last year. According to a report from The Legal Intelligencer, Risperdal now makes up more than 31% of the collective mass tort docket in Philadelphia’s Complex Litigation Center, up from 26% in 2015.
Court records indicate that more than 2,600 Risperdal lawsuits are now pending in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. All of the cases were filed on behalf of plaintiffs who allegedly developed gynecomastia (male breast growth) and other serious side effects associated with use of the atypical antipsychotic medication. Johnson & Johnson and its Janssen Pharmaceuticals unit are accused of concealing the risks associated with Risperdal and of failing to provide doctors and patients with appropriate safety warnings.
Risperdal is an antipsychotic medication used to treat schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders. In addition to gynecomastia, serious complications that may be associated with its use include weight gain, an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, and movement disorders.
Since 2015, the Pennsylvania Complex Litigation Center has convened a number of Risperdal gynecomastia trials in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. Plaintiffs have prevailed in four, with juries awarding damages ranging from $70 million to $500,000. Jurors declined 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 cases just before trials were scheduled to begin.
Attorneys representing Johnson & Johnson have filed appeals of the state’s Risperdal gynecomastia verdicts. Last September, the Pennsylvania Superior Court also heard arguments in a plaintiffs’ appeal of a trial court ruling that could ultimately result in the dismissal of any male breast growth cases filed after June 30, 2009. The impending decision will impact the fate of more than 250 Risperdal lawsuits.
Johnson & Johnson reported in September that it had been named a defendant in more than 15,000 Risperdal lawsuits that were pending in Pennsylvania and other courts around the U.S. A consolidated docket involving thousands of cases is also underway in Los Angeles Superior Court in California, where the fist trial is scheduled to be convened in July.
In November 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Johnson & Johnson and Janssen would pay $2.2 billion to settle charges that they illegally promoted Risperdal and other medications. Under the terms of the settlement, the companies pled guilty to a criminal misdemeanor charge over the marketing of Risperdal for off-label use in elderly dementia patients. However, they did not admit wrongdoing in resolving allegations that they had promoted the drug for certain pediatric indications prior to their regulatory approval.
Bernstein Liebhard LLP represents plaintiffs in Risperdal gynecomastia lawsuits. If you or someone close to you experienced excessive male breast growth that could be due to Risperdal, please contact our office at (888) 995-5099 to learn more about your available legal options.