Civil Plaintiff

J&J Fails to Get $70M Risperdal Award Tossed

A Pennsylvania appeals court upheld a $70 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson in a lawsuit charging its Risperdal anti-psychotic drug caused a man to grow female breasts and also ruled that punitive damages may be available in the case.

In addition to upholding the verdict for Tennessee resident Andrew Yount, the Pennsylvania Superior Court Tuesday sent back to the Philadelphia trial judge the issue of punitive damages in the case, potentially raising the stakes for J&J. The company was hit last month with $8 billion in punitive damages in another Philadelphia Risperdal case.

In upholding the $70 million award to Yount, the three-judge appeals court panel noted the plaintiff had taken Risperdal since he was a toddler and his breast growth left him with a “severe and permanent disfigurement” that made him a target for bullies.

J&J and its Janssen unit said in securities filings this year the company still faces more than 13,000 suits claiming Risperdal use led to breast development. Plaintiffs allege J&J hid that potential side effect in an effort to turn Risperdal into a blockbuster drup for the company.

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