J&J now has to fight thousands more Risperdal claims, thanks to Pennsylvania's high court

Pennsylvania's Supreme Court reinstated thousands of Risperdal lawsuits that had been dismissed by lower courts. (J&J)

Johnson & Johnson has been battling legal issues on several fronts—ranging from opioids to talc to medical devices—and Wednesday, its fight got a little tougher.

Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court ruled that lower courts had erred in dismissing two lawsuits from Risperdal patients on statute of limitation grounds. The decision revives those suits and thousands of others that claim the med caused male plaintiffs to develop breasts, a condition called gynecomastia, Law.com reports.

Previously, lower courts had set statute of limitation deadlines based on dates in 2009 and 2006, when Risperdal’s label changed to include language about gynecomastia risks. But the state’s Supreme Court found the statute of limitation deadline must be determined by a jury that weighs the facts in each case. 

RELATED: Jury smacks J&J with $8B Risperdal verdict, but will it stand up in appeals? 

The decision comes more than a month after a Philadelphia jury ordered the drugmaker to pay $8 billion in one individual Risperdal lawsuit. J&J said it believes the verdict will be overturned on appeal.  

In all, J&J faces about 13,600 Risperdal lawsuits, according to a recent SEC filing. 

RELATED: Teva, J&J make multibillion-dollar settlement offers as opioid trial gets going 

Aside from Risperdal, the healthcare giant faces about 16,800 talc cases and recently offered $4 billion to settle thousands of opioid lawsuits from states, cities and counties around the U.S. It remains to be seen whether the company’s opioid settlement will resolve that litigation.

The drugmaker faces litigation on certain other drugs and devices, as well. In Australia, the company this week lost a class action lawsuit covering the claims of more than 1,350 women, Reuters reports. Damages will be discussed at an upcoming hearing.