A mistrial was declared in Hibbs v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. et al as it entered its second week earlier this spring when a juror suddenly took ill during the testimony of an expert witness, identified as a plastic surgeon having treated previous cases of Risperdal gynecomastia. The witness, Dr. Mark Solomon, interrupted his testimony and leapt to the aid of the stricken juror, who was excused along with the remainder of the active jury when the mistrial was declared. A new jury was assembled, and attorneys for both sides revisited their opening arguments for the refreshed jury in the remounted trial.
Plaintiff Dean Hibbs was 8 years of age when he was prescribed risperidone (Risperdal) for Bipolar disorder and oppositional-defiant disorder. Now 23, Hibbs alleges that his use of Risperdal triggered grievous Risperdal side effects, including Risperdal gynecomastia. Risperdal diabetes is also an identified side effect of Risperdal, but diabetes did not appear to be an issue in this case.
The Risperdal and growing male breasts trial was to benefit from the testimony of expert witnesses, including Solomon and former Commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) David Kessler, who has testified in previous trials that Johnson & Johnson, the parent company of Janssen Pharmaceuticals, manipulated data presented to the FDA aimed at obscuring evidence linking risperidone to Risperdal and growing male breasts.
In the end, it was all for naught when Judge Kenneth Powell of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas granted a motion for nonsuit by defendant Janssen without further explanation as to the basis of his ruling.
An attorney for Hibbs noted his client will appeal the verdict, adding that the plaintiff seeks a decision by a jury, not by a judge.
Risperdal lawsuits are part of a mass tort housed in Philadelphia. Cases grew 39 percent last year when compared with 2015, for a total of 550 cases filed in 2016. According to attorneys conversant with the Risperdal gynecomastia file, there are thousands more cases waiting in the wings.
A previous Risperdal case met with a similar fate when the judge assigned to the case, Common Pleas Judge Sean Kennedy, dismissed T.M. v. Janssen a few days into the case for the defense on the eleventh day of the Risperdal trial. The judge determined that expert testimony was inadequate. In Hibbs v. Janssen, the judge didn’t give a reason in his granting of the defense petition for nonsuit.
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Plaintiffs allege that Risperdal side effects include Risperdal and growing male breasts – something about which plaintiffs assert they were not aware. Many young male plaintiffs have suffered emotionally from Risperdal gynecomastia, which often is only resolved through surgery.
The case is Hibbs v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. et al., Case No. 130600861, in the Court of Common Pleas of the State of Pennsylvania, County of Philadelphia.