Motion Filed to Enforce Settlement of Risperdal Gynecomastia Lawsuits
According to a recently filed motion in Pennsylvania state court, Johnson & Johnson is attempting to change the terms of an agreement to settle dozens of Risperdal lawsuits brought on behalf of former users who allege that the medication caused gynecomastia, which is a medical condition that results in breast growth among males.
Lawyers representing a group of 77 plaintiffs filed a Motion to Enforce Settlement (PDF) on November 5, asking Judge Arnold New to require the drug maker to honor agreements reached earlier this year to resolve the cases.
“After agreeing to the Settlement, J&J now suffers remorse because it has apparently discovered or decided that the Settlement does not inure to its benefit to the extent it may have originally anticipated,” the motion states. “Entering into an agreement that one party thereto later determines is not in its best interest, however, is not a legal basis for overturning the agreement, denying the agreement or escaping from the liabilities assumed by the parties under the agreement.”
The plaintiffs claims that on January 28, settlement discussions resulted in an agreement to resolve at least 77 cases against Johnson & Johnson and their Janssen Pharmaceuticals subsidiary, although details of the agreement were not revealed.
The drug maker is allegedly trying to back out of the deal on the basis that the settlement should also extend to resolving claims against co-defendants Excerpta Medica, Inc. and Elsevier, Inc. However, the plaintiffs say that claims against those co-defendants remain viable.
The motion points out that after the settlement was agreed to, it was mentioned in several status conferences, as were ongoing claims against the two remaining co-defendants. During months of communications and conferences, Johnson & Johnson never made an issue of it, the motion claims.
In September, there were even trial dates set for the cases against only Excerpta Medica and Elsevier, the plaintiff attorneys point out, yet J&J attorneys still never stated there was a problem. Only on September 17 did the defense attorneys release a Master Settlement Agreement that stated that claims against Excerpta Medica and Elsevier should be released as part of the settlement. Last month, in a telephone discussion, Johnson & Johnson reportedly threatened to revoke the Risperdal settlement if its demands were not met.
Risperdal Breast Growth Claims
Risperdal (risperidone) is an atypical antipsychotic medication originally introduced for adults with schizophrenia. However, the medication has been widely used by children for bi-polar disorders, autism, irritability, aggression and behavior disorders.
In recent years, Johnson & Johnson has been facing an increasing number of Risperdal gynecomastia lawsuits, which allege that the drug maker failed to adequately warn consumers or the medical community about the risk that boys and young men taking the medication could face an increased risk of breast growth from Risperdal side effects.
The medication allegedly caused boys to grow breasts measuring as large as a 38D cup size in some cases, with many plaintiffs requiring breast removal surgery.
In addition to the physical damages, plaintiffs allege that the psychological effects of Risperdal breast growth can have a devastating impact on the boys, greatly impacting their overall quality of life.
Even as the plaintiffs in Pennsylvania state court seek to enforce this settlement agreement, the number of claims filed nationwide continues to increase, as Risperdal lawyers continue to review potential cases for children who learn that their gynecomastia problems may have been caused by the medication.
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