Due to a massive growth spurt in the mass tort centralizing more than 2,000 Risperdal lawsuits before the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Johnson & Johnson has requested stricter requirements for new plaintiffs wishing to submit complaints.
According to the Legal Intelligencer, attorneys for J&J filed a memo with the court on February 22 requesting more detailed documentation from plaintiffs seeking to file new Risperdal lawsuit claims. The pharmaceutical manufacturer says that the number of claims pending against them in the Philadelphia court has increased by 550 cases, or nearly 40%, in just the past year. To slow this rapid influx of new claims, J&J suggests that demanding prescription records and other medical documentation earlier in the filing process will help to weed out claims that are not meritorious.
The memo states, “Indeed, the court should consider the fact that the landscape and scope of this litigation is changing dramatically. It is appropriate, indeed essential, that the court limit the exploding inventory in this program to cases that have the minimal good-faith basis required for a claim.”
In their recently published annual report to investors, Johnson & Johnson discloses that they have been named defendant in a total 18,500 Risperdal lawsuits nationwide, and that they expect more claims to be filed. Despite the fact that J&J has already been hit with a number of multi-million dollar judgments in favor of plaintiffs (the largest yet was $76 million in July 2016), the company tells investors that “it still has substantial defenses in these matters” and that “the ultimate outcome of legal proceedings…is not expected to have a material adverse effect on the Company’s financial position.”
In the thousands of Risperdal lawsuits pending against J&J and their subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, plaintiffs allege that drug makers failed to warn that use of this atypical antipsychotic may increase the risk of gynecomastia. Gynecomastia is sometimes a result of an increase in levels of the hormone prolactin, and causes males to develop excessive breast tissue. In gynecomastia lawsuits, plaintiffs allege that they have suffered serious physical, emotional, and financial damage as a result of the disfigurement and social stigmatization caused by Risperdal breast growth.
In their memo submitted to the court on February 22, J&J disclosed that it generally costs the company between $7,000 and $10,000 to prepare each defendant fact sheet for the Philadelphia Risperdal mass tort, and that eliminating cases earlier in the discovery process would help to limit these expenses. Since J&J has yet to offer any type of global settlement to Risperdal gynecomastia claimants and has been dedicated to defending each lawsuit on a claim-by-claim basis, weeding out cases would significantly reduce their litigation costs.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs in the Risperdal lawsuits pending in Philadelphia have expressed adamant opposition to this suggestion by J&J. They have stated that the new requirements for filing requested by J&J would essentially be a “pseudo-summary judgment procedure”, and that it is far too late in proceedings to make such a drastic change. They say that plaintiffs already submit specific details about their use of Risperdal and alleged injuries on the approved fact sheets, and that this is just an attempt by J&J “to stack the deck in favor of themselves in providing an onerous burden on the plaintiffs.”
While J&J and the thousands of plaintiffs who have filed Risperdal lawsuits against them are clearly at odds on multiple issues, there is one thing they have in common: both sides expect a significant increase in the number of gynecomastia lawsuits to be filed in the future. If you or a man or boy you love has developed gynecomastia after taking Risperdal, you may be owed compensation for your suffering and damages. Please contact us for a free consultation with a gynecomastia lawsuit attorney.