Pennsylvania Litigation Bars Punitive Damages from Risperdal Lawsuit Claims

Published on May 13, 2014 by Laurie Villanueva

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Plaintiffs who have filed Risperdal lawsuit claims in Pennsylvania will not be able to pursue punitive damage awards. According to an Order issued on May 2nd by Judge Arnold New of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, a New Jersey state law which precludes punitive damages awards governs the cases, as Janssen Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of Risperdal, is headquartered in the state.

Ruling Covers 500 Risperdal Lawsuits

Judge New is overseeing more than 500 product liability claims that have been filed on behalf of alleged victims of Risperdal gynecomastia, as well as other side effects associated with the atypical antipsychotic medication. Gynecomastia is a condition that causes excessive growth of breast tissue in men and boys.

In February, attorneys for Janssen, a unit of Johnson & Johnson, filed a motion requesting that Judge New bar punitive damage awards, which are intended to punish defendants for misconduct. In doing so, the company maintained that the judge should apply the New Jersey Products Liability Act, which does not allow plaintiffs to collect punitive damages in cases involving medications approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, to all of the Risperdal lawsuits.

For their part, plaintiffs had argued that Pennsylvania statutes should apply, as Janssen also maintains offices in the state. They also pointed out that in between the late 1990s and early 2000, the company regularly held meetings in Pennsylvania to discuss Risperdal marketing strategies. Alternatively, plaintiffs urged Judge New to apply the law of each plaintiff’s home state to the individual cases.

In the end, Judge New rejected the plaintiffs’ reasoning, and granted Janssen’s motion.

Despite this set back, plaintiffs in Risperdal lawsuits will continue to pursue compensatory damages against Janssen and Johnson & Johnson. If they prevail in these claims, they may be able to receive payment for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other physical, financial and emotional losses related to their alleged injuries.

According to court documents, trials of Risperdal gynecomastia claims are expected to begin in Pennsylvania in July. However, at least 80 such cases have already resulted in undisclosed settlements

Contact a Risperdal Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one developed Risperdal gynecomastia, you may be entitled to pursue your own case against Johnson & Johnson and Janssen. To discuss your lawsuit with a Risperdal attorney at Bernstein Liebhard LLP, please call today.