On Friday, Law360 reported that Johnson & Johnson sought a settlement with our client only days ahead of today's trial start date.
In March 2004, our client was a young Mississippi boy facing a potential diagnosis of bipolar disorder. His parents, hoping to help him manage his disease, got him a prescription for Risperdal, a medication produced by Johnson & Johnson. Within a short period, our client gained a significant amount of weight and developed “large, female-like breasts,” the markers of a physical deformity called gynecomastia. At the time, Risperdal only reported rare occurrences of gynecomastia in grown men.
Our client suffered considerable ridicule in school, causing a great deal of childhood trauma and shame. Meanwhile, we believe Johnson & Johnson knew that side effects of gynecomastia were far more common in adolescents than they had disclosed to the public. While the drug had a warning label claiming that gynecomastia in men was rare (1 in 1,000), it wasn’t until after our client started taking it that Risperdal changed its labels: the odds of a young boy growing abnormal breast tissue was 23 times more likely than an adult.
Now Johnson & Johnson is facing the consequences of marketing their drug—designed for adults—onto pediatricians and young patients.
Fighting for Alienated & Injured Young Men
Last year, our firm won an unprecedented $76 million verdict for another young man who developed breasts after taking Risperdal as a child—the largest of any Risperdal verdict by far. However, as Law360 reported, a later ruling allowed Johnson & Johnson to restrict all Risperdal verdicts to the laws of New Jersey, which insulated them from punitive damages. In other words, global corporation Johnson & Johnson ensured that they would not be held accountable according to any laws but the laws of New Jersey, where they have “significant business ties.”
The mass torts where all Risperdal cases have been consolidated, however, is in Philadelphia. In January, the Pennsylvania Superior Court struck down the protection from punitive damages, ruling that every plaintiff has a right to hold Johnson & Johnson accountable according to the laws of his home state. Since the January reversal, two plaintiffs were allowed to pursue punitive damages against Johnson & Johnson, with ours potentially about to be the third. Facing punitive damages from multiple plaintiffs, Johnson & Johnson decided to settle with our client this weekend before today’s trial was scheduled to begin.