Plaintiff Dean Hibbs was eight years old when he was prescribed Risperdal, an anti-psychotic drug (risperidone) that has been linked to the growth of male breast tissue (Risperdal gynecomastia). His first trial was stopped after one member of the jury experienced a sudden health issue while an expert witness for the plaintiff was testifying. The witness, Dr. Mark Solomon, leapt to the aid of the jurist along with a nurse stationed in the courtroom and employed by defendant Janssen Pharmaceuticals (Janssen).
As a result, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Kenneth Powell stopped the proceedings, declared a mistrial, brought in a new jury from the existing jurist pool and required legal counsel on both sides of the dispute to review their opening arguments for the new jury, before the Risperdal side effects trial resumed.
As we have written about previously, the trial came to an abrupt end when the judge tossed out the case midtrial after Janssen had moved for nonsuit, without providing any indication as to the reasons for his decision.
At the time, counsel for the plaintiff indicated his client would appeal, noting it was their preference to have the case correctly decided by a jury, not by a judge.
Sure enough, a five-page post-trial motion was delivered last week, claiming the trial judge erred following the health emergency by not asking the remaining jurists if they felt they might be prejudiced by the incident.
“The trial court erred and abused its discretion in granting a mistrial without conducting voir dire of the jury to determine whether they were in fact prejudiced by Dr. Solomon’s actions,” plaintiff Hibbs said in the motion. “For this reason, the court should lift the nonsuit and order a new trial for the purposes of determining the liability of the Janssen defendants.”
It has been a bumpy road for the trial, with the drama occurring within just a couple of months. According to court records the Hibbs trial began mid-March, only to be granted a mistrial March 27 following the health emergency of the jurist. A new jury was brought in three days later. Three weeks after the health emergency, Janssen tabled their motion for nonsuit and on April 17 Judge Powell granted the motion without comment, stopping the second trial in its tracks, and the case was tossed. At the time, Janssen claimed that evidence provided by the plaintiff in an effort to support his claims was lacking. The plaintiff countered that in his view, the evidence was more than adequate.
They want a new trial in their Risperdal side effects lawsuit.
“We are hopeful that post-trial relief is granted and that Dean Hibbs, like every other plaintiff whose failure-to-warn claim has been decided by a jury, will obtain a jury finding against Janssen Pharmaceuticals and its parent company, Johnson & Johnson,” legal counsel for the plaintiff said.
READ MORE RISPERDAL LEGAL NEWS
Plaintiffs in many a Risperdal lawsuit claim the manufacturer was negligent in bringing the product to market without sufficient warnings about the potential for Risperdal gynecomastia, or so it is alleged. There are thousands of Risperdal lawsuits in the legal pipeline.
The Risperdal lawsuit 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.