The most recent case in ongoing Risperdal litigation, Moffat v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, began on May 9 and reached a confidential settlement on May 13. Moffat alleged that Janssen knew about and ignored the links between their antipsychotic medication, Risperdal, and gynecomastia, a condition where males experience extensive breast tissue growth and discharge. Their failure to provide proper warning of the risk of gynecomastia has led to over a thousand claims against Janssen, a pharmaceutical company under Johnson & Johnson.
No Interest in Global Settlement
Thomas R. Kline, head of the Risperdal mass tort, says that the Moffat settlement was strictly about Moffat’s case, and that there are no indications from Johnson & Johnson as to an interest in global settlement talks. Janssen also released a statement indicating the same. Robyn Frenze, a spokeswoman for Janssen, said that the company would “continue to defend this litigation and will try cases as appropriate.” Moffat is not the only Risperdal suit to settle. A case in May 2015 also resulted in a settlement.
To date, four cases related to Risperdal have gone to trial:
- Pledger v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals: Austin Pledger, a young man taking Risperdal to assist with autistic symptoms, was awarded $2.5 million.
- Cirba et al v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals: Although the jury determined Janssen failed to warn about the risks of Risperdal, they ruled that it was not the cause of the plaintiff’s breast growth.
- Murray v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals: In this trial, the plaintiff was awarded $1.75 million.
- Stange v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals: The plaintiff was awarded $500,000 in this last trial.
Stange and Murray have both been appealed to the state Superior Court. Stange is the first to receive appellate review. Both sides in Pledger were denied post-trial motions by Judge Ramy Djerassi. In Pledger, the plaintiffs challenged an order from Supervising Judge Arnold New that bars them from seeking punitive damages. This ruling could affect the entirety of the mass tort.
Pending Cases & the Risperdal Mass Tort
Over 100 Risperdal-related depositions have been recently conducted or scheduled. A.Y. v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals is up next, with a trial date scheduled for June 20. It is believed that this particular case could potentially shape a future global settlement.
Court records indicate that 1,730 Risperdal cases are pending in the mass tort. Plaintiffs of the mass tort contend that Janssen did not provide adequate warnings for the risks of gynecomastia when taking Risperdal. In addition, they question the objectivity of a hotly contested medical report in 2003 that Janssen says proves the absence of a link between gynecomastia and Risperdal. Plaintiffs allege that Janssen concealed the true findings of the study in order to manipulate the market. A reanalysis of that medical report showed that an omitted table in the report didn’t contain significant data; however, plaintiffs contend that Janssen was involved in the reanalysis and can’t be trusted.