Lawsuit Informer

$8 Billion Johnson & Johnson Verdict Dropped to $6.8 Million

Last Updated on December 14, 2022 by Lawsuit Informer
Janssen to pay punitive damages over marketing of Risperdal
Pixel0525, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

A Philadelphia judge has ruled that Johnson & Johnson is liable for $6.8 million in damages after the antipsychotic drug Risperdal caused breast growth in boys.

J&J Subsidiary To Pay Damages To Patients

A judge has ruled that Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals must pay $6.8 million in punitive damages over its marketing of the antipsychotic drug Risperdal.

In a case filed in 2013, Maryland resident Nicholas Murray and a personal injury litigation team argued that the company was liable for downplaying known risks that Risperdal can lead to breast growth in boys. Murray began taking Risperdal at the age of 9 in 2003 for symptoms of autism.

The schizophrenia drug Risperdal is arranged in a Cambridge, UNITED STATES – OCTOBER 17: The schizophrenia drug Risperdal is arranged in a Cambridge, Massachusetts pharmacy Tuesday, October 17, 2006. Johnson & Johnson said third-quarter earnings rose 8.7 percent led by sales of prescription drugs including the schizophrenia drug Risperdal. (Photo by Jb Reed/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

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Last October, a jury in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas found that Janssen owed punitive damages for its failure to warn doctors of the risks associated with Risperdal as well as for improperly marketing the drug as a treatment for certain mental health disorders.

Professor Carl Tobias of the University of Richmond School of Law said the original jury verdict was intended to send a message. “A jury, if it’s outrageous enough conduct, will award a big number and let the lawyers and judges work it out,” he said. He added that the verdict likely means Johnson & Johnson will see increasingly large damage awards in other Risperdal lawsuits. “The kind of evidence in this trial may persuade another jury or judge to do something similar,” he said.

In 2018, the year prior to the $8 billion verdict, Johnson & Johnson reported revenues of nearly $82 billion.

Murray’s lawyer said of the verdict that “the ruling is wrong and will be appealed,” adding that the reduced amount “provides essentially no punishment for the worst of the worst of corporate misconduct.” A court already ruled in March 2016 that Johnson & Johnson must pay Murray $680,000 in compensatory damages, as his case showed that the company had failed to disclose the risks that Risperdal would cause him to develop gynecomastia, or enlarged breast tissue.

Lawsuits Over Risperdal Have Grown Following $2.2 Billion Settlement

The US Food and Drug Administration approved Risperdal in 1993 as a treatment for schizophrenia and bipolar mania in adults. It expanded the approval to include Risperdal as a  treatment for irritability associated with autism in children in 2006.

According to the company, over 13,600 people have filed lawsuits against them over Risperdal as of late 2019, including in state courts in Pennsylvania, California and Missouri. In addition, Johnson & Johnson settled other cases over its marketing of Risperdal and two other drugs out of court in 2013, paying $2.2 billion to settle civil and criminal fines.

The verdict last October was the first time that a jury awarded punitive damages in a case against Janssen.

“This jury resoundingly told Johnson & Johnson that its actions were deliberate and malicious,” Murray’s lawyers said in a statement at the time. “The conduct that the jury saw in the courtroom was clear and convincing that J&J disregarded the safety of the most vulnerable of children. This is an important moment, not only for this litigation, but for J&J, which is a company that has lost its way.”

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