2016 was an incredible year for the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. There were significant shifts in the administration of both the civil and criminal processes, as well as massive verdicts that signal more to come in 2017. The Legal Intelligencer recently published a retrospective of this year’s many changes, both in the structure of the Philadelphia court system and the administrators charged with directing its progress.
The changes they listed include:
- Official abolishment of the Philadelphia Traffic Court
- Judge Jacqueline Allen was appointed to the top administrative position in Philadelphia’s court system
- Creation of an Administrative Governing Board to oversee the First Judicial Court’s performance
- Creation of a committee to review the system appointing lawyers to defendants who cannot afford them
- The appointing of attorneys to handle the backlog of Post-Conviction Relief Act cases
Trends in Philadelphia Plaintiff’s Law
Of course, as plaintiff’s lawyers we are more interested in the developments on the civil side of the court system—particularly verdict trends and how well juries are compensating the injured or harmed. This year, Philadelphia’s juries heard multiple cases involving Johnson & Johnson companies and their dangerous products.
Philadelphia’s largest jury verdicts this year included:
- $800,000 in damages added to a $12.5 million verdict due to delays in a transvaginal mesh case
- $13.5 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson in another transvaginal mesh lawsuit
- $44.1 million verdict against the University of Pennsylvania for medical malpractice
- $26.5 million against multiple defendants in a truck accident that harmed a lawn car worker
The most massive verdict by far, however, was the $76 million* award we obtained against Johnson & Johnson for their drug Risperdal. It’s telling, also, that this is the third case that Johnson & Johnson has lost in Philadelphia this year—with more Risperdal cases from our firm scheduled in 2017. This year the legal developments and verdicts in Philadelphia were massive, but next year is already shaping up to outdo it.
*Note: the article mentions that it was $70 million because it did not include interest.