Johnson & Johnson pushed its salespeople to promote the antipsychotic drug Risperdal illegally to children and the elderly, according to Steve Brill’s new “DocuSerial” titled America’s Most Admired Lawbreaker.
Free Risperdal Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or someone you know developed gynecomastia or other serious side effects from Risperdal, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit against the manufacturer and our lawyers can help.
What’s the problem?
September 15, 2015 – According to Brill, J&J’s misdeeds might have gone unnoticed had it not been for a spate of lawsuits filed against the company by consumers who were injured or made sick. The article highlights the importance of public disclosure in civil lawsuits.
Brill also focuses on how the deterrence of unsafe practices – a critical function of litigation – has been largely nullified. In the modern profit-driven marketplace, a company making $20 billion can “break the rules with relative impunity, or at least without suffering the kind of punishment that would actually hurt,” according to Brill.
While some of the fault must lie with the Justice Department’s feeble response to corporate law-breaking, Brill says greater blame should be placed on the laws and court decisions that hamstring juries’ ability to levy meaningful civil damages against these companies. According to the author, the threat of punitive damages has been virtually annihilated, eliminating one of the most critical tools to prevent corporate misconduct.
Unlike compensatory damages, which are awarded to indemnify the plaintiff for a particular loss or injury suffered as the result of unlawful conduct by another, punitive damages are levied to punish reckless companies through the imposition of financial liability. Even though they are rarely awarded, punitive damages have a significant importance in the “signals” they send to corporations like J&J, according to Brill.
Considering the epidemic of corporate abuse in the U.S., Brill sees limiting punitive damages as the absolute worst thing to do. However, over the past 20 years, supreme court decisions and state lawmakers have severely weakened the influence of this deterrent.
At least 38 states have enacted some form of legislation to restrict punitive damages. Some states ban the awards altogether. Other states bar them when plaintiffs are injured by FDA-approved prescription medications.
Nearly half the states currently limit punitive damages to a specified dollar amount, a so-called “flat cap,” or some fixed equation of compensatory damages (“multiplier”) which is largely irrelevant to a company’s size or misconduct. A capped punitive damage award – even one in the millions or tens of millions of dollars range – may sound like a lot of money to the average person, but it puts zero financial pressure on a corporation the size of Johnson & Johnson.
“With before-tax profits of $20.6 billion for 2014, putting aside $500 million or even $1 billion a year over 15 years to cover payouts for…claims that might come along doesn’t put much of a dent in the company’s financials,” Brill said.
For these reasons, giant companies like J&J are “too big to care,” according to Brill, placing the public at serious risk with little financial consequence.
Do I Have a Risperdal Lawsuit?
The Pharmaceutical Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Risperdal lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new gynecomastia cases in all 50 states.
Free Confidential Case Evaluation: Again, if you or a loved one was harmed by Risperdal side effects, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit and our lawyers can help.