Hiring a Risperdal Lawyer
Once highly-regarded as one of the most prolific treatments for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and pediatric autism, Risperdal has come under recent fire for its potentially life-threatening side effects – side effects kept closely under wraps by the drug maker Johnson & Johnson and its affiliates. Fortunately for victims of this dangerous drug, a Risperdal lawyer can help patients and families recover damages following unwitting exposure to this antipsychotic hazard by filing a product liability and/or personal injury lawsuit.
Background of Risperdal litigation
Risperdal was first introduced to the American drug market in 1993 as a brand name for the drug risperidone. The drug is believed to help balance the delicate neurological ratio between serotonin and dopamine – two powerful chemicals virtually 100 percent responsible for the mood fluctuations of patients facing difficult mental illness. In just three years’ time, this drug was selling millions of prescriptions per year – all while missing extremely important side effects information on its labeling.
In the years since its introduction, Risperdal has been linked with hundreds of lawsuits alleging side effects including:
- Tardive dyskinesia: A severe movement disorder
- Sexual dysfunction
- Neuroleptic malignant syndrome: A potentially-deadly neurological disorder causing rigidity, shaking, delirium, paranoia and high blood pressure
- Gynecomastia: Development of breast tissue in men
- Heart problems, stroke and death
Some patients who have endured these unexpected side effects, and enlisted the services of an experienced Risperdal lawyer, have reaped great rewards. In fact, lawyers have recently advocated on behalf of patients to obtain a $5.9 million Risperdal settlement against Johnson & Johnson – alleging the company not only engaged in unfair and deceptive marketing practices, but intentionally concealed information revealing the potential for serious, adverse side effects.
Johnson & Johnson also settled with the Department of Justice for $2.2 billion in 2013 amidst similar allegations.
How to find the right Risperdal lawyer
If you or a loved one experienced a similar adverse reaction to the drug Risperdal, finding the right attorney to handle your case will be pivotal to the ultimate success or failure of your legal claim. Attempting to handle your Risperdal case on your own without the assistance of an experienced product liability lawyer could result in a much lower settlement than you expected – or none at all. Having an attorney with pharmaceutical litigation experience on your side is critical when opposing a global drug conglomerate like Johnson & Johnson, as the drug company will have only its bottom line – not your best interests – in mind when considering a settlement amount for your claim.
Specifically, your Risperdal attorney can help you with any of the following:
- Initial review of claim issues that may bar recovery (e.g., statute of limitations, etc.)
- Filing your complaint in the appropriate state or federal jurisdiction
- Engaging in the discovery process, unearthing relevant documents and evidence, and protecting you from discovery requests that violate the attorney-client privilege
- Negotiating possible settlement terms with counsel for Johnson & Johnson
- Litigating the matter before a tribunal if settlement is impossible
- Obtaining damages to cover your actual costs of treating your Risperdal side effects, plus possible additional damages for pain and suffering, mental anguish and anxiety
- Handling any necessary appeals
While handling your Risperdal case, your attorney should always treat you and your family in a compassionate, patient and respectful manner. Your lawyer should understand the sensitive nature of these cases — which often involve serious mental health issues – and work diligently to help you secure the maximum compensation you are entitled to by law.
Dangers of working with the wrong legal representative
It goes without saying that seeking the advice and counsel of an attorney during your Risperdal case is vital to an eventual positive result. However, there are several red flags to watch for when choosing your lawyer.
Red flags to watch out for when choosing a Risperdal attorney:
- Lack of Experience: Defective drug cases involve highly-nuanced areas of the law, and you should not trust the outcome to an attorney with minimal experience in this type of litigation.
- Unrealistic Expectations: No attorney, even the most experienced, can guarantee or predict certain results. If your lawyer is unequivocally promising you a successful victory in your Risperdal case, find another.
- Blemished Past: Be wary of any attorney with a series of disciplinary complaints or license suspensions in his past. This information is usually available from your jurisdiction’s regulatory agency and can help you avoid the pitfalls of working with an unethical legal representative;
- Lack of Follow-Up: It will be clear within the first couple of weeks whether your attorney has difficulty returning phone calls or emails. If you sense your attorney is too busy or distracted to properly handle your case, including regular communication with the client, it may be time to find another lawyer.
Basics of a Risperdal lawsuit
At the heart of most Risperdal claims is the assertion that Johnson & Johnson failed to warn patients as to the possibility of severe adverse side effects. Several internal documents were released in 2013 suggesting that Johnson & Johnson was aware of the problems with Risperdal, but continued to market the product as safe nonetheless. In an email from 2002, a researcher emphatically informed Johnson & Johnson executives that Risperdal had caused cerebrovascular adverse events and death, and that the company had a “moral and ethical responsibility to publish [these] results quickly and in a way that can be understood and makes clinical sense.”
Other claims against Risperdal involve deceptive trade practices in the marketing and branding of the drug. These cases assert that Johnson & Johnson disseminates misleading statements about the drug, including promises of its effectiveness against conditions for which it was not approved. Known as “off-label marketing,” Johnson & Johnson is alleged to have pushed the sale of Risperdal patients suffering from dementia, anxiety and mood disorders – despite having only received approval for the treatment of psychotic conditions like schizophrenia.
Status of current Risperdal litigation
Risperdal litigation continues to ensue across the United States. On the heels of the Department of Justice’s ten-figure settlement, consolidated litigation continues to progress in Pennsylvania involving claims of gynecomastia in men and adolescent boys. This litigation involves nearly 500 claims by plaintiffs represented by qualified Risperdal lawyers, and is continuing to expand.
- Department of Justice, Johnson & Johnson to Pay More Than $2.2 Billion to Resolve Criminal and Civil Investigations, http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2013/November/13-ag-1170.html
- CChrint.org, Internal documents in $2.2 billion Risperdal settlement show side effects were concealed, http://www.cchrint.org/2013/12/06/internal-documents-in-2-2-billion-risperdal-settlement-show-side-effects-were-concealed/