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A Philadelphia jury has awarded $1.75 million in damages to a Maryland man, finding that Johnson & Johnson failed to adequately warn him and his doctor about the risk that side effects of Risperdal use as a child may cause him to experience male breast growth.
The verdict is the third handed by a jury in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, where several thousand Risperdal breast growth lawsuits are pending against the maker of the popular antipsychotic, each involving allegations that teen boys and young men experienced abnormal breast development after using Risperdal, a condition known as gynecomastia.
The case was brought by Nicholas Murray, a 21 year old autistic man from Maryland, who claimed that damages caused by Risperdal caused him to suffer disfigurement and mental anguish.
The first Risperdal case to go to trial in Philadelphia involved a similar complaint filed by Austin Pledger and his family, ending in a $2.5 million jury award in February 2015.
In March, a second Risperdal bellwether trial ended in a defense verdict in favor of the drug maker. In a claim brought by William Cirba, that jury found that insufficient evidence was presented to establish that the teen’s abnormal breast growth was actually caused by use of Risperdal.
Johnson & Johnson has been quietly dealing with breast growth litigation over Risperdal for years, but the number of cases has continued to grow as more families and young adults learn that there may be a link between problems suffered following a diagnosis of gynecomastia and Risperdal use as a child.
In 2012, a different series of cases were scheduled to go before juries in Philadelphia, but the drug maker reached agreements to settle the Risperdal lawsuits just as the trials were set to begin.
While the outcomes of these early bellwether trials are not binding in other cases, they are being closely watched by those involved in the litigation, as they may signal how juries could react to evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout a number of Risperdal lawsuits.
Following these latest bellwether trials, if Johnson & Johnson fails to reach Risperdal settlements to resolve the litigation, they may face hundreds of separate trial dates involving claims brought by individuals throughout the United States.