Court Denies Request to Rehear Punitive Damage Bar in Risperdal Lawsuit
The Pennsylvania Superior Court has denied a request in a Risperdal lawsuit that would enforce a global bar on punitive damage awards in thousands of personal injury cases associated with the medication.
Many plaintiffs had filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceuticals as a result of the injuries and side effects they sustained taking Risperdal.
Many of the claims inside these Risperdal lawsuits say that the makers knew about the risk of side effects but never gave patients a warning about the possible problems. Side effects could develop into serious medical conditions, including gynecomastia.
In that condition, young men may develop breasts. For many of the men who had to file a Risperdal lawsuit due to those kinds of claims, they had to undergo surgery and other invasive methods to remove the breast tissue allegedly caused by taking Risperdal.
The lawsuits say the manufacturers knew about the side effects but did not reveal them to doctors or to patients taking the drugs. Many of the affected patients weren’t sure what to do when the side effects began, and not being warned about the issue caused the problem to get worse.
The appeals court’s order followed a January finding that barred punitive damages in the more than 6,400 Risperdal lawsuits pending in Philadelphia. A lawsuit filed by one plaintiff who began taking Risperdal in 2006 to treat symptoms linked to Tourette syndrome was originally awarded more than $500,000.
In his initial Risperdal lawsuit, he still appealed the finding, challenging a global order from the mass tort program stating that Janssen’s business connections with New Jersey allowed it to take advantage of New Jersey laws that shielded pharmaceutical companies from punitive damages.
However, the plaintiff who filed that Risperdal lawsuit argued that Wisconsin law should have been applied to this case given that he suffered his injury and was prescribed the medication in that state.
The appeals court then agreed and determined that the previous decision in the Philadelphia County Risperdal lawsuit in issuing the global order for all Risperdal cases had inappropriately applied the choice of law analysis.
The appeals court said that the trial court had to allow that plaintiff to create a record about whether or not Wisconsin law should apply.
Punitive damages in Wisconsin law are capped at twice the amount of any compensatory damage award or $200,000, whichever of the two is bigger.
In a subsequent Risperdal lawsuit, another superior court panel found that a plaintiff should have been able to argue that Maryland law should govern his damage bit.
The plaintiff in that Risperdal lawsuit received a nearly $2 million verdict in 2015, although it was later reduced after a trial judge found that Maryland law limited non-economic damages to no more than $680,000.
If you believe you have eligibility to initiate a Risperdal lawsuit, consult with the experienced attorneys at McDonald Worley.
Disclaimer: McDonald Worley is not representing the plaintiff in this lawsuit.