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Johnson & Johnson Agrees to Then-Largest False Claims Act Settlement in Risperdal Lawsuits

In 2013, the U.S. Justice Department announced that Johnson & Johnson would pay $1.273 billion to the federal government and most states to settle a civil False Claims Act investigation into its off-label marketing of its drug Risperdal. J&J settled a criminal investigation into the matter for an additional $800 million.

Two of the J&J whistleblowers were represented by a Hodgson Russ team led by Daniel C. Oliverio. Other team members were Joseph V. Sedita and Robert J. Fluskey, Jr.

Risperdal, once J&J’s best-selling drug, was approved by the FDA in 1993 for psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia. According to documents filed with the court, the company made efforts to sell Risperdal for unapproved uses that included bi-polar disorder, dementia, and mood and anxiety disorders, among others.

After the local case against J&J was filed in Western New York in 2004 for its off-label marketing of Risperdal, the federal government consolidated this case in Philadelphia with four other similar cases related to Risperdal marketing. In False Claims Act cases like this one, whistleblowers are entitled to a share of the proceeds; the two whistleblowers represented by Hodgson Russ shared in 15 percent of the settlement awards.

At the time of the settlement, Dan said, “As one of only a few major law firms to have experience successfully representing corporate clients in defending complex whistleblower litigation as well as select whistleblowers, we feel we were exceptionally well positioned to represent our remarkable clients in this case.”

Dan continued, “This settlement, which is the largest FCA relator share settlement in history, follows on the heels of another whistleblower suit, in which we served as lead counsel, that resulted in the largest FCA settlement in Western New York history. I am incredibly proud of the work our team is doing to support our clients in these matters.”