The antipsychotic drug Risperdal is associated with a number of serious side effects, including increased risk of cardiovascular injury, stroke, movement disorders and gynecomastia (breast tissue growth in males). Among all health complications liked to Risperidone, male breast growth has generated the most attention and litigation, as hundreds of young men claim that Johnson & Johnson negligently concealed risks to boost sales.
At present, more than 1,800 families of young men suffering from gynecomastia are seeking justice through the courts. The lawyers of Nadrich & Cohen have been monitoring Risperdal litigation against J&J and its Janssen unit, and offer expert legal guidance to those who have been harmed by the medication.
Grounds to file a Risperdal lawsuit
Johnson & Johnson has been accused of illegally marketing Risperdal to pediatric patients on an “off-label” basis for the treatment of behavioral issues before the FDA granted approval in 2006. As early as 1994, the drug was commonly prescribed to children with ADHD, autism, bipolar disorder, and other behavioral issues without the benefit of extensive safety trials. Despite studies dating back to 1999 which established a causal relationship between Risperdal and enlarged breasts in boys, J&J opted to place profits above safety and continue marketing their blockbuster drug to young patients.
Individuals who have suffered physically, emotionally and financially as a result of undisclosed Risperdal side effects may have grounds for filing a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson and its Janssen unit. In addition, relatives of elderly dementia patients who died after being given Risperidone may pursue a wrongful death claim with the aid of a Risperdal attorney. Victims are suing on counts of strict product liability, failure to warn, fraudulent concealment and breach of warranties. Plaintiffs may be entitled to significant compensation for past and future medical bills, mental anguish and suffering, as well as punitive damages.
The onset of gynecomastia can be extremely upsetting for boys entering their teens who often suffer social anxiety and develop feelings of shame and humiliation. Jurors take this type of emotional distress into consideration when awarding damages in Risperdal cases.
Risperdal class action lawsuit
When many people experience adverse effects from a prescription pharmaceutical or medical device manufactured by one company, they may consolidate their claims into a class action suit. A class action allows plaintiffs to pool resources and reduce costs. This joint complaint streamlines legal proceedings among a large group, or “class” of people. If attorneys obtain a jury award or settlement, each claimant in a given “injury” category would receive the same amount of monetary damages.
In terms of Risperdal gynecomastia litigation, plaintiffs have not formed a class action, but are pursuing individual lawsuits in state and federal courts. Due to a large number of pending cases in Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, the complaints were centralized into a mass tort before a single judge. However, unlike a Risperdal class action, each plaintiff will have his own day in court and will be compensated according to the strength of their case.
As more complaints are filed in district courts, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) may decide to establish multi-district litigation, by consolidating Risperdal complaints in one federal court. Multidistrict litigation affords many of the same benefits as a state-level mass tort, by expediting pretrial processes among similar complaints.
Risperidone lawsuit information
The majority of Risperdal lawsuits involving male breast growth are pending in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, where J&J is facing more than 1,500 complaints. Another 300 Risperdal cases are awaiting trial in California. In 2012, the drug giant agreed to settle five of the pending cases in Philadelphia court for confidential sums. In early 2015, the first round of gynecomastia lawsuits went before jurors, resulting in three consecutive wins for plaintiffs.
According to testimony and evidence presented during the trials, Janssen Pharmaceuticals had substantive knowledge of gynecomastia risks but failed to warn doctors and consumers.
Over the last year and a half, J&J has been hit with several landmark judgments for concealing evidence and failing to warn about Risperdal-induced breast growth in males.
- February 2015 – Jurors award Austin Pledger $2.5 million, finding J &J liable for failing to warn of male breast growth risks. Pledger developed 46 DD breasts.
- October 2015 – Jurors render $1.75 million award for plaintiff Nicholas Murray, even though he continued taking Risperidone after it was approved for pediatric use by FDA.
- July 2016 – $70 million verdicts handed down to 17-year old Tennessee resident who developed female sized breasts after taking Risperdal as a boy.
J&J intends to challenge the verdicts and contends the Risperdal product label had adequate warnings about breast growth risks.
Average Risperdal lawsuit settlement amount
The recent $70 million Risperdal verdict not only gives hope to other young men who were disfigured by the antipsychotic drug, it may motivate J&J to create a settlement program. Whether remaining lawsuits are settled out of court, or each case goes before a jury, there are several factors that will influence a number of damages obtained.
- The severity and impact of gynecomastia
- If surgery (liposuction or mastectomy) was performed
- Pain and emotional anguish suffered
- Future medical expenses
- Loss of earning capacity
- Impact on overall quality of life
- Permanent disfigurement
Because each gynecomastia case is unique, there is no “average” settlement amount, though an experienced product liability attorney can speak to the general value of your claim.
How to file a Risperdal gynecomastia lawsuit
Johnson & Johnson is one of the world’s largest and most powerful pharmaceutical companies and considers litigation just another cost of doing business. Considering the vast resources at their disposal, you need an experienced legal advocate in your corner.
If you are considering your options for compensation, Nadrich & Cohen, LLP can explain the legal process and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your Risperdal case. From filing your complaint in state or federal court through settlement negotiations, our attorneys are here with you every step of the way. Our firm operates on a no recovery-no fee basis, so you won’t owe us a dime unless we win or settle your case!
Get started by requesting a free case evaluation with one of our California personal injury attorneys. Call our offices toll-free at (800) 718-4658.