Judge Proceeds with Risperdal Punitive Damages Trial

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Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Arnold L. New has ordered two Risperdal cases to proceed in a new trial for punitive damages. In both cases, causation and compensatory damage were already awarded the plaintiffs– Stange v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals ($500,000) and Murray v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals ($1.75M later reduced to $680,000).

Judge New previously ruled in agreement with Janssen’s legal team finding that New Jersey state law applied to all of the 6,700 Risperdal cases pending in Philadelphia, a majority of which are not Pennsylvania state residents. New Jersey law does not allow for punitive damages in pharmaceutical cases. Pennsylvania Superior court reversed the decision in January allowing for punitive damage in accordance with the laws of the plaintiff’s home state. Wisconsin law would apply in Stange’s trial and Maryland law in Murray’s.

Four of the five Risperdal cases tried resulted in ‘failure to warn’ verdicts for the plaintiffs. To be awarded punitive damages, the plaintiff needs to prove that Janssen acted maliciously or fraudulently. 

Did Janssen act fraudulently? Janssen knew about the correlation between Risperdal and gynecomastia and did not tell doctors. Instead, Janssen assured both doctors and the FDA there was no correlation and the drug was safe. A document known as Table 21 which shows a significant link between Risperdal and gynecomastia, the growth of ‘female-like’ breast in young boys, will be presented to the court. In previous Risperdal trials, a J&J Biochemist testified Janssen never gave the Table 21 to the FDA.

Sheller PC, along with the firms of Kline & Specter and Arnold & Itkin, litigated both cases and represents hundreds of others injured by Risperdal. The firms attorneys believe “this is the tipping point in this litigation.” The team plans to fight for maximum punitive damages allowed by state law, and any punitive damages caps.

Read More:

First Two Risperdal Cases Set for Trial on Punitive Damages, The Legal Intelligencer, September 18, 2018

J&J Biochemist Testifies Company Never Gave FDA Risperdal Safety Analysis It Knew About For Years, New Brunswick Today, May 16, 2015

Table 21

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