Product News and Recalls

Judge Shocks Both Sides with Move to Dismiss Risperdal Case

judge dismisses janssen lawsuit mid-trialMost of the time, a judge’s actions in a case are somewhat expected by at least one side. A plaintiff or defendant might argue for a particular action and the outcome is based on either the success or failure of that argument. However, every so often a judge does something that catches both sides off guard.

Such was the case in Philadelphia when Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Sean Kennedy dismissed plaintiff Tommy Moroni’s case against Janssen Pharmaceuticals in the middle of the trial. Just 11 days of testimony had elapsed in the case filed over claims that the anti-psychotic drug Risperdal is causing men and boys to develop excessive breast tissue.

Judge Kennedy’s decision is summed up briefly. “At the conclusion of my research and my staff’s research,” he said, “it is my opinion that under Texas law, Dr. Solomon’s testimony is legally insufficient to prove causation in this case, and as such, I am granting defendant’s motion for compulsory nonsuit.”

The Dr. Solomon that is referenced is Dr. Mark P. Solomon, and the criticism of his testimony is noteworthy because he has testified in nearly every previous Risperdal case to date; including one that resulted in a $70 million verdict for the victim.

At the time of the dismissal, the plaintiff’s attorney was questioning a Janssen executive about a sizeable donation that now president of Johnson & Johnson Alex Gorsky was going to make to Massachusetts General Hospital. The purpose of that donation was allegedly to establish a research center at the hospital that was focused on generating research and information supporting the use of Risperdal in children and adolescents.

This testimony was likely the first time that this arrangement had been publicized and was given on a Monday. The case was dismissed the next day.

The plaintiff and his attorneys are planning to appeal. In a statement, Mr. Moroni’s attorney says that “we are confident that the erroneous ruling will be reversed, and our client, Tommy Moroni, will be heard by a jury on another day.”