Risperdal Verdict of $124M to Stand After Appeal Rejected by Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an attempt by Johnson & Johnson to overturn a $124 million verdict in a Risperdal lawsuit over illegal marketing of the atypical antipsychotic, exhausting the last avenue of appeal for the drug maker in the case brought by the state of South Carolina. 

The verdict was first won by the state of South Carolina in 2011, with a jury ordering the manufacturer to pay $327 million in damages for violating marketing laws when it sent a letter to doctors overstating the drugs benefits and downplaying the potential side effects of Risperdal.

Since then, Johnson & Johnson has had the amount lowered twice to $124 million on appeal, but continued to claim the Risperdal verdict was still excessive.

A number of lower court judges have refused to overturn the verdict entirely, indicating that Johnson & Johnson had a culture of “profit at all costs” in its marketing efforts. After the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a further appeal, it appears that the drug maker will be forced to pay the damages awarded.

South Carolina is one of a number of states who won Risperdal marketing lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson and it’s Janssen subsidiary. The largest award came in Arkansas, where the company was ordered to pay $1.2 billion. That verdict was overturned by the Arkansas Supreme Court, and the company and the state eventually settled for $7.5 million.

In November 2013, Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay $2.2 billion to the U.S. government in criminal fines and civil penalties, and pled guilty to criminal misdemeanor charges brought by the Department of Justice over its Risperdal marketing efforts, which states and the government said amounted to Medicare fraud.

Risperdal Lawsuits Over Failure to Warn

Johnson & Johnson also faces hundreds of Risperdal lawsuits brought on behalf of boys and young men who previously used the medication and developed a condition known as gynecomastia, which involves the development of full breasts among males. Those claims allege that the drug maker placed their desire for profits before consumer safety by marketing the drug for boys without adequately warning families or the medical community about the risk of Risperdal breast growth problems.

While the drug maker reached a handful of Risperdal gynecomastia settlements early in the litigation, the drug maker has been attempting to defend the cases in recent years as a growing number of boys and young men who experienced breast growth file cases.

Since early last year, Johnson & Johnson has been hit with several multi-million dollar Risperal verdicts in gynecomastia lawsuits as a series of “bellwether” trials held in Philadelphia to help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the litigation.

In February 2015, the first Risperdal breast growth case to go to trial resulted in a $2.5 million jury award. While the drug maker was able to obtain a defense verdict in the second case, after the jury found that plaintiff was unable to establish his breast growth was caused by the drug, a third trial in November 2015 resulted in a $1.75 million award for a 21-year-old autistic man from Maryland.

1 Comments

  • TeresaOctober 26, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    I have been waiting since 2013 and no result yet but they are behind in the cases I won't go to court until next year for my son

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