PHILADELPHIA – A prominent Risperdal case in which the issue of punitive damages applicability reached the state Superior Court has been resolved through a settlement in Philadelphia.
On Monday, an attorney for Wisconsin plaintiff Timothy Stange, as well as defendant and Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals, acknowledged that a settlement in the case had been reached – but provided no further details.
“The Stange case has been settled. No further details can be made available,” said Thomas Kline of Kline & Specter in Philadelphia, a member of Stange’s counsel team.
Janssen Pharmaceuticals both offered a similar statement and supported the efficacy of Risperdal.
“We resolved this case and the terms are confidential. Risperdal (Risperidone), when used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan, continues to help millions of patients with mental illnesses and neurodevelopmental conditions,” the company said.
Like many Risperdal plaintiffs, Stange had asserted an inadequate warning of developing gynecomastia from taking Risperdal. Stange used the drug for three years during his childhood, for treatment of Tourette’s syndrome.
His case received further attention when the initial trial’s December 2015 result of a $500,000 jury verdict in his favor had been appealed to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, which upheld his arguments that an inadequate warning of the gynecomastia risks directly caused his injuries.
Stange was therefore granted a new trial, where he would have the opportunity to attempt to apply Wisconsin law to attempt to obtain punitive damages from Janssen. Before that, the pursuit and application of punitive damages in Risperdal cases was prohibited according to New Jersey state law – because Janssen's parent company Johnson & Johnson is headquartered there.
A motion from Johnson & Johnson for interlocutory appeal was denied by Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas Judge Arnold L. New last Oct. 26.
Almost 7,000 lawsuits based in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas and its Complex Litigation Center – most from out-of-state plaintiffs – allege Risperdal causes young males to contract gynecomastia, or the development of female breast tissue, and that Johnson & Johnson failed to adequately warn of that side effect from the drug.
In addition to nearly 7,000 Risperdal cases, the CLC has several other mass tort programs, including cases over asbestos, and the percentage of claims belonging to out-of-state plaintiffs has traditionally been in the high 80s.
In 2016, the percentage for pharmaceutical lawsuits dropped to 74 percent.
In 2017, CLC stats show that figure jumped to an unprecedented 94 percent. Last year, it was reported that figure showed a slight decrease, to 84 percent.
Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas cases 130401984
From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at firstname.lastname@example.org