Judge makes 'totally unexpected' move to dismiss latest Risperdal trial

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A Pennsylvania judge dismissed a lawsuit Tuesday regarding the antipsychotic Risperdal, ending a string of high-profile verdicts in cases claiming the drug's maker failed to warn consumers about its potential side effects.

Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Sean Kennedy dismissed the case between plaintiff Tommy Moroni and Janssen Pharmaceuticals mid-trial, citing an “inadequate” expert testimony, the Legal Intelligencer reported.

Moroni's case is among nearly 2,000 included in a mass tort program claiming Janssen failed to warn consumers that Risperdal could cause gynecomastia, or the growth of enlarged breasts among men and boys. The case also argued that Janssen promoted off-label use of the schizophrenia drug among children without FDA approval. Risperdal also has been given off-label to long-term care residents with dementia.

Attorneys for Moroni said Kennedy's decision was “totally unexpected,” but added that they are “confident that the erroneous ruling will be reversed” and Moroni's case will be heard by a jury. Kennedy's decision is currently being appealed to the Pennsylvania Superior Court.

Moroni's case is the sixth in the mass tort program to go to trial, and the first to reach trial since a similar case brought a record-setting $70 million verdict in July.