Risperdal Trial Concludes with $500,000 Jury Award
The fourth Risperdal trial to date has resulted in a $500,000 award for the plaintiff. It took just six hours of deliberations for the Philadelphia jury to find in favor of the plaintiff in the case of Timothy Stange v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals.
Calling the verdict “another win in a string of plaintiff verdicts,” a spokesperson opined that the Stange case adds further support to the allegation that Janssen was negligent in failing to warn healthcare providers and patients of the potential risks of its drug, Risperdal.
Allegations about Risperdal side effects
Risperdal (risperidone) is an antipsychotic medication that may be prescribed to patients diagnosed with schizophrenia or the manic depressive symptoms of bipolar disorder. Like all drugs, Risperdal can result in side effects. However, it has also been linked to an increased risk of permanent anatomical changes that require plastic surgery to resolve. Stange and many other plaintiffs who filed lawsuits against the manufacturer of Risperdal have alleged that Risperdal caused elevated levels of prolactin, a hormone, which resulted in gynecomastia. Gynecomastia is a condition that involves abnormal enlargement of male breast tissue.
Stange used Risperdal from 2006 to 2009 to control the symptoms of Tourette syndrome. In 2006, he was 11 years old. In about one year of taking the drug as prescribed, Stange developed enlarged breasts. He claims he suffered severe emotional trauma as a teenager because of this condition; specifically, he endured bullying from his peers because of his appearance. Initially, Risperdal allegedly caused Stange to gain 60 pounds. This temporarily camouflaged the enlarged breast tissue. However, after the young man had lost the excess weight, the enlarged breast tissue was quite noticeable. Additionally, the plaintiff experienced stabbing pains of the left nipple, another alleged result of Risperdal.
Stange underwent breast reduction surgery when he was 18 years old. However, the counsel for the plaintiff noted that the emotional trauma is not as easily resolved. In his lawsuit, Stange argued for the defendants to be held liable for allegedly concealing information pertaining to the risk of elevated prolactin levels among Risperdal patients. His counsel also pointed out that the labeling information for the drug claimed that gynecomastia only occurred rarely – one case in every 1,000. This incidence rate, counsel argued, was actually closer to five in 1,000.
1,600 Risperdal lawsuits still pending
This particular Risperdal lawsuit was only the fourth to go to trial in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. In that court, there are still more than 1,600 cases pending against Janssen Pharmaceuticals. Including the Stange lawsuit, three out of the four cases resulted in favorable jury verdicts for the plaintiffs. The first Risperdal lawsuit to go to trial in this court involved plaintiff Austin Pledger, who claimed that his use of Risperdal in 2002 to manage mood swings led to severe gynecomastia. This past February, a Philadelphia jury awarded Pledger $2.5 million. Post-trial motions are currently pending.
The second case was that of William Cirba, who first began using Risperdal at the tender age of six. This case resulted in a favorable verdict for the defendants. The jury concluded that although it found the defendants had been negligent in its inadequate labeling information, there was insufficient evidence to link the drug to the plaintiff’s complications. The third lawsuit to be resolved involved a Maryland plaintiff, Nicholas Murray. A jury awarded him $1.75 million for mental anguish and disfigurement.
- The Legal Intelligencer, Jury Awards $500K in Risperdal Case, http://www.thelegalintelligencer.com/id=1202744711577/Jury-Awards-500K-in-Risperdal-Case?mcode=1395262324557&curindex=76&curpage=ALL
- PennRecord.com, Plaintiffs 3-for-4 in Philadelphia Risperdal trials, confident punitive damages will be reintroduced, http://pennrecord.com/stories/510653060-plaintiffs-3-for-4-in-philadelphia-risperdal-trials-confident-punitive-damages-will-be-reintroduced