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Philadelphia Judge Bars Punitive Damage Claims in Risperdal Mass Tort Action


On October 23rd, due to an appeal filed in Philadelphia Superior Court, Judge Arnold L. New, the coordinating judge presiding over the Complex Litigation Center at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, published an explanation on why he chose to grant Janssen Pharmaceuticals’s motion for summary judgment in the In re Risperdal Litigation back in May of 2014.

This decision resulted in the application of New Jersey law to the Risperdal mass tort program and all of the roughly 1,500 cases in it.

Unfortunately for the Plaintiffs affected, all of whom are alleging that the warnings on Risperdal were insufficient when it came to the drug’s potential to cause the enlargement of breasts in male users, a condition known as gynocomastia, New Jersey law is notoriously strict in limiting punitive damages awards in product liability cases like those involving Risperdal.

In making his decision to grant the Defendant’s motion, Judge New effectively denied injured Plaintiffs the right to pursue punitive damage claims against Janssen.

In his opinion, Judge New explained that because most of Janssen’s corporate conduct occurred in the state of New Jersey, it is that state which has the greater interest in applying its law.

While the Plaintiffs argued to the contrary that the law of the case doctrine obligated the Court to apply Pennsylvania law because that is where the drug was marketed, prescribed and ultimately consumed by patients.

Judge New countered that the law of the case doctrine only applies to prior decisions in the same case and that the cases in the program are each separate and individual.

This release comes just one month after Judge New issued an opinion on why he 13 Michigan Risperdal cases should have been thrown out.

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with gynocomastia as a result of taking this defective and dangerous pharmaceutical, contact the experienced Risperdal injury lawyers at Zehl & Associates today for a free attorney consultation.