Morgan & Morgan is proud to announce that complex litigation attorney Laura V. Yaeger has been appointed as a member of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in the California litigation surrounding the antipsychotic drug Risperdal. According to the lawsuits, Risperdal’s manufacturer failed to adequately warn patients about the serious side effects associated with its drug, specifically a medical condition that causes young boys and men to develop breasts, known as gynecomastia.
“On September 5, 2014, I was appointed to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee,” Yaeger said. “It is an honor. This appointment positions our firm in an ideal position to protect the rights of our clients.”
California Superior Judge William F. Highberger, who is overseeing the cases, appointed Yaeger and 13 additional attorneys to serve as members of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC) for the remainder of the litigation. As a member of the PSC, Yaeger will coordinate pretrial proceedings, such as discovery and hearings, where she will examine witnesses, produce evidence and review motions.
“Currently, we are focusing on two litigation fronts: one in Philadelphia and the other in California,” Yaeger said. “Presently, in the Philadelphia litigation, hundreds of cases are pending. The court holds regular status conferences to handle discovery and scheduling issues. The California litigation is in its beginning stages.”
In California, hundreds of boys injured by Risperdal have filed cases, Yaeger said. In these lawsuits, the plaintiffs allege that Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals, which manufactures Risperdal, failed to adequately warn patients about the risk of developing gynecomastia after taking the drug. Not only is the condition embarrassing, but it may also be permanent and require surgical intervention to correct, according to the plaintiffs.
Furthermore, these lawsuits allege that Janssen promoted Risperdal for off-label uses, such as the treatment of schizophrenia in adolescents. While Risperdal was approved for this use in 2007, Janssen allegedly promoted the drug for adolescent treatment long before its approval through an extensive “ghost writing” campaign. According to the plaintiffs, Janssen allegedly hired medical professionals to write positive articles about Risperdal that touted its efficacy for unapproved uses and then published these articles under the names of unaffiliated doctors to appear as if they were unbiased.
Yaeger and the other complex litigation team members at Morgan & Morgan continue to review potential lawsuits on behalf of patients who took Risperdal or Invega and developed gynecomastia.