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New York State Risperdal Plaintiff Awarded $1 Million

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Syracuse, NYOne of the few Risperdal lawsuits to be tried outside Philadelphia has resulted in a win for the plaintiff, a resident of Troy in New York State who was awarded $1 million in compensation. A jury in US District Court, Northern District of New York delivered their verdict in the trial on September 27, awarding 24-year-old Shaquil Byrd $500,000 for past and/or present pain and suffering, as well as an additional $500,000 for future pain and suffering.

According to WNYT News Channel 13 (10/04/17), Byrd was nine years of age when he was diagnosed with psychosis and prescribed Risperdal. He eventually suffered from Risperdal gynecomastia – male breast growth – that traumatized him as a youth.

“You know, thinking people are judging me,” (sic) Byrd said in comments broadcast by WNYT. “So, it’s still something that, you know, I feel bad about.” (sic).

His male breast tissue was surgically removed three years ago when he was 21. However, the teasing he endured as an adolescent has not yet left him. “It can really, like, mess up how you view yourself and how you view the world,” Byrd said to WNYT.
 
Byrd’s Risperdal lawsuit was the first to be tried outside Philadelphia that resulted in a win for the plaintiff, according to WNYT. Meanwhile, in Philadelphia there are no fewer than 6,000 Risperdal lawsuits housed in a mass tort in the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas. Risperdal gynecomastia cases have been tried in Philadelphia since February, 2015 with both plaintiffs and the defendant prevailing in several of the cases. Many Risperdal lawsuits have been settled out of court just prior to trial – however, the four occasions when plaintiffs have prevailed resulted in jury awards ranging from $500,000 to $70 million.

Risperdal gynecomastia, which is the growth of male breast tissue, remains a relatively rare side effect of Risperdal (risperidone) that nonetheless proves devastating for those affected. In rarer cases still, gynecomastia victims have been known to actually secrete fluids through the nipples. The only known treatment for Risperdal gynecomastia is surgery to remove the excessive breast tissue.

Byrd’s Risperdal lawsuit asserts that male breast tissue had begun to form within months of starting Risperdal, an anti-psychotic.

“I feel like I have a new beginning, like, I can be who I am without, you know, caring about who’s trying, who’s going to judge me,” (sic) Byrd said to WNYT. The news outlet reports Byrd is pursuing therapy for depression, and hopes to enroll in college.

Janssen issued a statement following the Risperdal gynecomastia verdict, as reported by WNYT. “Contrary to the impression the plaintiffs’ attorneys have attempted to create over the course of this litigation, Risperdal (risperidone) is an important FDA-approved medicine that, when used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan, continues to help millions of patients with mental illnesses and neurodevelopmental conditions.”

It is not known if Janssen, a division of Johnson & Johnson, plans to appeal.

The case is Byrd v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. et al, Case No. 1:14-cv-00820, in US District Court for the Northern District of New York at Syracuse.

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