The antipsychotic drug Risperdal has been linked to gynecomastia – the growth of breast tissue in boys and men. Now, thousands of Risperdal cases have been filed in Los Angeles and Philadelphia to hold pharmaceutical manufacturer Johnson & Johnson accountable for failing to adequately warn people about this side effect.
The Risperdal cases are filed in two coordinated actions – one in Los Angeles Superior Court (Risperdal and Invega Product Liability Cases, JCCP 4775) and another in Philadelphia (In re: Risperdal Litigation, March 2010 Term, Case No. 100300296). Although they are coordinated actions, as Girard Gibbs explains, the Risperdal suits “… are not class action lawsuits; rather, they are individual personal injury lawsuits that have been grouped together in coordinated judicial proceedings, or a mass tort lawsuit. Coordinated judicial proceedings are often referred to as a multidistrict litigation, or MDL.” Eric Gibbs, named partner of the same firm, serves as Co-Liaison Counsel in JCCP 4775.
Though mass tort plaintiffs together bring their case against the same defendant – in this case J&J – compensation amounts may differ based on each individual’s specific injuries.
Plaintiffs: Start Planning for Settlement Now
What will happen when these cases settle? The gynecomastia side effect has already caused psychological trauma and difficulty in these young men’s lives. When we’re talking about minor plaintiffs, some of whom developed the condition as young as 13, receiving a lump sum of money upon settlement has the potential to exacerbate that stress for the entire family.
Attorneys and parents of these children should take great care to consider their options for the settlement proceeds, so there’s no windfall at age 18. Without adequate settlement planning for Risperdal victims, that settlement money will go to a local bank in a guardianship account. When the child turns 18, he could potentially be given tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in a big lump sum. Parents who fail to set up a better plan will have no control over what happens to all that money for their child, and the consequences could do much more harm than good.
Consider Your Settlement Options
Before settlement, parents have the option to plan the proceeds to roll into a trust, which can be set up with specific stipulations to ensure the money goes to good use. There are many types of trusts from which families can choose in their child’s best interest. A comprehensive settlement planning firm can help them determine which vehicle is best suited to these needs.
Law firms with these cases in inventory are advised to establish protocols and communication channels with their settlement experts, and to establish firm level Qualified Settlement Funds, so there isn’t a rush to distribution and time to plan.
At Milestone Consulting, our experts are committed to ensuring each individual client makes the most informed decision possible about his or her settlement. After everything families have been through with Risperdal and their child’s side effects, planning ahead for settlement can prevent a lot of future stress and ensure the proceeds benefit the child for as long as possible.
A West Point graduate where he served as captain and military aviator, John Bair continues his commitment to our country through his efforts within the settlement planning industry. He has represented families of victims lost in the Flight 3407 crash, offered pro bono services to the families of 9/11 victims and drafted the first consumer protection bill for plaintiffs (H.R. 3699).