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Mid-way through the latest bellwether Risperdal trial in Pennsylvania state court, the judge presiding over the case determined that expert witness testimony offered by the plaintiff was insufficient under Texas law to establish causation between the use of the medication and the development of male breasts, known as gynecomastia.
The case is the latest in a series of early trial dates scheduled in Pennsylvania, where several thousand Risperdal gynecomastia lawsuits have been brought over breast growth problems experienced by boys and young men after using the atypical antipsychotic.
Each of the complaints raise similar allegations that Johnson & Johnson withheld information and warnings from consumers and the medical community, and other bellwether cases have been allowed to go to the jury in the state, with several resulting in multi-million dollar damage awards for plaintiffs left with permanent and disfiguring breast growth.
This latest trial involved a claim brought on behalf of Tommy Moroni, who experienced problems after he started to use Risperdal at the age of seven. Expert testimony was presented by Dr. Mark P. Solomon on the causation link between Risperdal and gynecomastia.
According to a report by The Legal Intelligencer, Judge Sean Kennedy determined this week that Dr. Solomon’s testimony offered in the case was legally insufficient to establish causation under Texas law applicable to the case, resulting in a dismissal for the drug maker. While Dr. Solomon’s testimony has been accepted in previous cases, this is the first Risperdal trial over which Judge Kennedy has presided.
The dismissal comes only a few months after another Risperdal bellwether trial resulted in a $70 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson for failing to warn about the risk of gynecomastia in July 2016. Other recent trials have resulted in damages of $500,000 in December 2015, $1.75 million in November 2015 and $2.5 million in February 2015. In each case, the juries found that there was sufficient evidence submitted to establish that Risperdal caused gynecomastia.
While Johnson & Johnson has reached other “one-off” Risperdal settlements as cases approached trial, the manufacturer has refused to reach any global agreement to resolve large numbers of claims, instead continuing to defend cases at trial. However, while the manufacturer has been battling the litigation for years, the number of cases continue to grow as families and young men learn that breast growth experienced may have been caused by use of the medication.