Appeals court opens door for Punitive Damages in Risperdal cases

An appeals court decision out of Pennsylvania has opened Johnson & Johnson up to punitive damages in thousands of pending Risperdal cases.  The decision came from a three-judge panel that ruled the lower court had improperly decided that the laws of the plaintiff’s home state should not be applied.

 

Timothy Stange, a Wisconsin resident, began taking Risperdal in 2006 for Tourette Syndrome.  He was 12 years old at the time and living in Wisconsin while he was prescribed the antipsychotic medication.  Six years after he began taking the drug he had to have surgery to remove breasts that grew as a result of the prescription, according to court records.  The mastectomy caused permanent scars and he endured bullying from classmates from the breast growth, a condition called gynecomastia.  A Philadelphia jury awarded Stange $500,000 in compensatory damages.  He was barred from collecting punitive damages.  The lower court ruled that New Jersey law should be applied since the pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. had headquarters there.  New Jersey law prevents plaintiffs from being awarded punitive damages if the drug in question was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.  Risperdal was approved by the FDA in 2006 for use as an antipsychotic drug.  [1]

 

The Appeals court disagreed with that decision remanding the case for further consideration on the interstate issue.  Wisconsin, Stange’s home state, allows for a plaintiff to recover compensatory and punitive damages which would greatly increase the amount recovered by Stange and other plaintiffs of the nearly 5500 pending Risperdal cases.  Wisconsin law caps punitive damages at $200,000 or twice the amount of any compensatory damages awarded according to the court decision.  The decision to apply New Jersey law was a global order that applied to all of the consolidated Risperdal cases.  The challenge and results of the appeal will, thus, be applied to all of the cases that were consolidated as part of the mass tort program in the Philadelphia County court.

 

All plaintiffs argue that the manufacturer of Risperdal, also known by the generic name Risperidone, concealed information that the drug caused gynecomastia or the risk of breast growth in men.   This decision follows the record-setting $70 million verdict issued by a Philadelphia jury last year.  In that case, Andrew Yount of Tennessee, began taking Risperdal at the age of 5.  He was awarded $70 million in damages related to the disfigurement and emotional distress associated with breast growth.  Prior to that decision, the most a jury had awarded in a Risperdal case was $2.5 million.  [2]

 

Contact us to learn more about Risperdal litigation and other mass tort cases.  At Amicus Capital Group and Amicus Media Group are dedicated to bringing you up to date information on pending litigation, court decisions and mass tort news.  We can help provide you litigation financing and capital for your cases.  At Amicus Media Group, we focus on case acquisition developing a solid media campaign for acquiring the right kind of cases for your law firm.  Find out more by contacting us today.

 

 

 

 

This blog post does not contain legal or financial advice. Author and publisher disclaim any and all warranties, liabilities, losses, costs, claims, demands, suits, or actions of any type or nature whatsoever, arising from or any way related to this blog, the use of this blog, and/or any claim that a particular technique or device described in this blog.

[1] http://www.pennlive.com/news/2018/01/man_who_grew_breasts_after_tak.html

[2] https://pennrecord.com/stories/510952812-risperdal-plaintiff-awarded-record-setting-jury-verdict-of-70-million-in-philadelphia-court

Why Every Law Firm needs a Marketing Department in 2018

pic1The legal marketing game is rapidly changing.  Tools and tricks used for years on end simply do not work anymore.  Algorithms change faster than most people get haircuts.  Search engines such as Google and Yahoo are one step ahead of the game and you should be too.  The question is how?  How do you compete when you are busy running your law firm, caring for your client, preparing for litigation – being a lawyer?  The simple answer is delegation. You can’t be expected to keep up with the ever-changing world of search engine optimization, marketing through social media, promoting your brand and establishing yourself in a crowded marketplace.  So, you must adapt to the new world that requires specialized knowledge of legal marketing and the new landscape that is shaping.

 

Enter a law firm marketing department.  Whether you decide to have one in-house or hire an outside company, this will be a team of highly-trained individuals who serve the purpose of marketing your firm and the attorneys that work there.  They will help you develop a solid business plan and set the goals necessary to achieve that plan.  Without them, you may spend a lot of time and a lot of money wondering what’s working and what’s not.  You may be missing out on crucial revenue that is going straight to your competitors.  The marketplace is crowded, overrun with people who do the same thing that you do.  The truth is they may not do what you do better, but if potential clients are hiring them, then they do have a better marketing team.

 

How do you make this a reality in 2018?  Find your dream team.  You should have a marketing manager that you trust, and that understands your vision.  You want them to perform an honest assessment of your firm’s goals and prospects.  You want them to show you how you will set yourself apart in an otherwise overcrowded field, and most importantly you want to see results.  You need to start thinking about marketing money differently.  The money you spend on marketing – if spent well – will pay dividends.  Invest in the right marketing team, and you will see a return on your investment.  Do not use this as a “get out of jail free card.”  You need to make sure that your money is being put to good use.  Regularly check in with your marketing team to see real-time results on how money is being spent and what is making the biggest impact.  Hold them accountable and vice-versa.

 

Change is hard, adapting can be even harder.  Your goal for the first six months of 2018 should be to find the right legal marketing team.  Look for transparency, proven track record, and trust.  You will be relying on this individual or team of individuals to take your firm to the next level, so take your time and make a wise investment.  Once you have the right people in place, go over your business plan for the next year.  Then look five years out and ten years out.  Set realistic short-term and long-term goals and then put steps into place on how to achieve these goals.  Your marketing team will help you understand the new legal marketing landscape and what you need to do to compete.

 

Why wait?  Get the help you need now.  Amicus Media Group is dedicated to helping law firms grow their firm.  Our team of legal marketing specialists will help you grow your firm and acquire the right kind of cases.  Read our special report “Re-Evaluating Growth: Case Acquisition with Less Risk.”

California Supreme Court Rules that Pharma Companies can be held liable for Generic Drug Labels

In a controversial move, the California Supreme Court has ruled that pharmaceutical companies can be held responsible for inadequate labels on generic drugs, even after they have stopped manufacturing them or sold the drugs to other companies.  The contentious 4-3 decision held that large pharmaceutical companies such as Novartis can be sued for failing to update warning labels on generic drugs even though the generic drug is manufactured by a different company.  The suit arose after a mother of twins took a generic version of Brethine (Terbutaline).  Brethine, a name-brand asthma medication being used to suppress premature labor, was produced by Novartis until 2001.  In 2007, aaiPharma Inc, bought the rights to manufacture the generic version of the drug.  The drug, according to the lawsuit, is believed to have caused developmental delays and autism in the twins.  In 2011, the US Food and Drug Administration warned against giving the drug to pregnant women for a prolonged period.  The drug was designed to relax muscles helping to open restricted passageways during an asthma attack.  Prior to 2011, doctors believed that it could also relax uterine contractions in the hopes of preventing pre-term labor.  The FDA did not approve the drug for this use, but it is believed to have been used on more than 260,000 women.[1]  While no direct link between the drug and autism has been established, the FDA issued a warning that it is unsafe to be taken while pregnant.[2]

 

The California court found that brand-name manufacturers are responsible for strengthening a warning label and that the duty to warn consumers over potential harmful effects is not relieved by another company manufacturing a generic version of the drug.  Ultimately, the California Supreme Court has opened the door to sue the name-brand manufacturer of a drug for failing to update a warning label if there is foreseeable harm to the consumer.

 

The dissenting opinion in the ruling argued that the decision was contrary to rulings across the United States dealing with the same issue.  Many courts have refused to hold a drug company responsible for previously manufacturing a particular drug, thereby releasing liability once they sold the rights to manufacture the drug.  The responsibility, according to the dissent, is absorbed by the new company. It is the responsibility of the current manufacturer to update all warning labels as the need arises.

 

Need to Know More? Have clients contacted you about potential lawsuits?  Amicus Capital Services and Amicus Media Group are dedicated to bringing you the latest information on Mass Tort Litigation and Class Action Lawsuits.  We can help you with financing and building a comprehensive digital and off-line campaign to reach potential clients.  We care about you and can help you help your clients.  Contact our offices today to learn about national and regional case acquisition.

 

This blog post does not contain legal or financial advice. Author and publisher disclaim any and all warranties, liabilities, losses, costs, claims, demands, suits, or actions of any type or nature whatsoever, arising from or any way related to this blog, the use of this blog, and/or any claim that a particular technique or device described in this blog.

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC107840/

[2] http://autism.lovetoknow.com/Terbutaline_and_Autistic_Spectrum_Disorders

Top Law Firm Marketing Tips for 2018