October 11, 2019

Philadelphia jury awards $8 billion in punitive damages in Risperdal retrial

The BBC News reports that a jury in Philadelphia has awarded $8 billion in punitive damages against Johnson & Johnson in a lawsuit over the anti-psychotic drug Risperdal. 

The plaintiff is a man who alleged that he grew breasts as a result of taking Risperdal and was not warned about that possible side effect.  A jury in 2015 awarded $1.75 million in compensatory damages, which the trial court later reduced to $680,000 and barred punitive damages.  The state appellate court reversed the ruling on punitive damages and sent the case back for a retrial on that issue. After this verdict, the case is undoubtedly heading back up on appeal again.

Johnson & Johnson is no stranger to colossal punitive damages awards.  The company has been battered by a series of adverse jury verdicts in cases involving its pelvic mesh implants and talc products, not to mention a billion dollar verdict in a Texas case involving hip implants.  Oh, and it's fighting a $572 million award by an Oklahoma judge who found the company responsible for that state's opioid epidemic.

The Wall Street Journal has an op-ed about the case entitled An $8 Billion Drug Heist.