Pursuant to the January 2018 decision by a three-judge-panel in Pennsylvania Superior Court, plaintiffs can now seek punitive damages in lawsuits filed over male breast growth caused by side effects of Risperdal. The decision overturned Philadelphia Judge Arnold New's decision passed in October 2015 and opened the window to award punitive damages to thousands of plaintiffs belonging to the Philadelphia Mass Tort docket. With an accelerated trial pace set by Judge New, three back to back punitive damage trials are scheduled for December 3, 2018; January 22, 2019; and February 4, 2019. The litigation will also witness 160 trials spread over the course of next year, selected from more than 6,700 cases filed in this complex mass tort program where most of the plaintiffs are not Pennsylvania residents.
Defendants Johnson & Johnson and its Janssen Pharmaceuticals subsidiary are facing allegations of failure to warn the medical community and the patients about the possible link between its antipsychotic drug and gynecomastia. Two coordinated actions have been filed for Risperdal cases: one in Los Angeles Superior Court (Risperdal and Invega Product Liability Cases, JCCP 4775, presided by Honorable William Highberger) and the other in Philadelphia (In Re: Risperdal Litigation, March 2010 Term, Case No. 100300296).
Off the nine cases gone to trial in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, four verdicts have been awarded as compensatory damages to victims.