The trial court and the state’s Superior Court's failure in establishing a statute of limitations that resulted in the dismissal of thousands of Risperdal lawsuits have led to a renewal of the cases by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
The statute of limitations disputes traces back to when the trial court judge granted the defendants, Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen, summary judgment in two Risperdal lawsuits, after finding that the deadline for filing such cases expired two years after June 2009. The plaintiffs (Saksek v. Janssen and Winter v. Janssen) involved in these cases appealed to the Pennsylvania Superior Court, which moved the deadline back to two years after October 31, 2006, the date when Risperdal label was revised to state that gynecomastia, or excessive male breast growth, occurred in 2.3% of those consuming the drug.
The Superior Court decision led to the dismissal of thousands of cases. The plaintiff then moved to the state’s highest court, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, where the court in a 6-1 decision overturned Superior Court ruling and left the statute of limitations questions for juries to decide.
The decision has affected about 40% of the more than 7,000 lawsuits that are pending in a mass tort litigation underway in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. Two coordinated actions are 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).