Plaintiffs involved in heated Risperdal lawsuit litigation over the antipsychotic drug have asked a Pennsylvania judge handling hundreds of cases there to consider individual state laws when it comes to holding the company liable for punitive damages.
According to documents in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, some 375 individuals who allege male breast growth and other side effects said on March 25th that the judge should refer to either Pennsylvania law, or regulations in the Risperdal lawsuit plaintiff’s home state when deciding on punitive damage awards.
“Pennsylvania punitive damages law should apply because significant regulatory compliance, pre-approval submissions, labeling and testing for Risperdal were performed by defendants in Pennsylvania,” plaintiffs said.
This was in response to a motion for summary judgment on punitive damages filed in February by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., who argued that all Risperdal lawsuits should follow New Jersey regulations, as this is where they are headquartered.
Cases filed over the antipsychotic drug allege male breast development, a condition referred to as gynecomastia, and other side effects following use of the medication. Risperdal is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat adults and adolescents with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, among other conditions.
Many Risperdal lawsuits pending in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas say the drug was prescribed for off-label uses not approved by the FDA, which may include the treatment of children, before it was cleared to do so in 2006. Johnson & Johnson and Janssen failed to adequately warn the general public about Risperdal gynecomastia and other side effects associated with the medication, which they say was designed defectively.
Risperdal plaintiffs say the company’s recent position against punitive damages goes against its stance in 2012, when officials agreed to 80 settlement agreements. The first bellwether case settlement was reached in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas in September 2012, according to court records, with five more to follow that month.
“In all prior cases in this mass tort proceeding, Janssen has taken a wholly different position as to the punitive damages law applicable to these cases than it is taking now,” plaintiffs said.
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