Posted: March 31, 2016

A “steady stream” of big products liability verdicts have been won by plaintiffs lawyers against Johnson & Johnson recently, notes an article in The New Jersey Law Journal. It cites a judge’s order in Dallas that the company pay $502 million to five plaintiffs injured by artificial hips and a $72 million verdict in Missouri for a woman whose death from ovarian cancer was tied to J&J talcum products. The article goes on to site a rash of verdicts won in Philadelphia by Kline & Specter in two arenas – cases over the anti-psychotic drug Risperdal, which caused male patients to grow female breasts, a condition known as gynecomasta; and injuries suffered by women who had surgically implanted vaginal mesh products that proved to be defective. The article quoted a University of Michigan professor who studies drug companies as saying that J&J has departed from its founders’ credo of putting patients first. In an interview, Shanin Specter told The New Jersey Law Journal: “Johnson & Johnson is being told by juries that they have acted negligently and recklessly more than any other company in the United States. Their internal documents demonstrate that they are a company that has lost its way, and they are putting sales over safety." Specter last December and February won verdicts of $12.5 million and $13.5 million against J&J subsidiary Ethicon Inc. in vaginal mesh cases. Perhaps more telling was the fact that $17 million of the awards were in punitive damages. "Remember that punitive damages are a rare event in the United States,” Specter said, “so to see J&J be assessed these damages over and over again is a regrettably meaningful statement about the culture of the company. You don't see this happen with the same frequency with other huge companies." In earlier Risperdal cases tried to verdict in Philadelphia, Tom Kline won verdicts of $2.5 million and $500,000, while Jason Itkin, a Texas attorney with whom Kline & Specter has partnered in Risperdal cases, won a $1.75 million verdict in a Risperdal case tried in Philadelphia. (Read the complete article)
Learn more about vaginal mesh and Risperdal lawsuits.