Jansen Pharmaceuticals is fighting to keep Risperdal litigation in a federal court. The company says a holding company for the Cherokee Nation – and not the tribe itself – is the proper Plaintiff in a lawsuit filed against Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary, over undisclosed side effects with its antipsychotic drug Risperdal. Thus it’s claimed that the case should remain in federal court. That’s what the pharmaceutical companies told an Oklahoma federal judge.
Johnson & Johnson is fighting a bid by the Cherokee Nation to move the case to Oklahoma’s Sequoyah County Court. The powerful drug giant claims that it never sold Risperdal directly to the tribe, making Cherokee Nation Businesses, the holding company, the proper Plaintiff in the case. The Cherokee Nation argued in response that its government provided health care services to tribe members during the period in question and that should not affect the federal court’s jurisdiction over the case.
The Cherokee Nation filed a lawsuit in Sequoyah County Court in April 2015 seeking restitution for Risperdal that the tribe had purchased under the guise that the medication was a safe and effective treatment for elderly patients with dementia. The drug was later found to increase the risk of stroke and diabetes in the elderly.
The Cherokee Nation claims it purchased Risperdal between March 3, 2002, and Dec. 31, 2003, a time in which Janssen has since admitted it promoted the drug as an off-label treatment for elderly patients. The admission was part of a plea deal to resolve a criminal case with the Department of Justice.
In July, Johnson & Johnson removed the case to federal court, and in August the Cherokee Nation filed a motion to remand the case back to Sequoyah County Court. In December, U.S. District Judge James H. Payne put off ruling on whether the keep the lawsuit in federal court, ordering discovery for jurisdictional issues. Johnson & Johnson claims that the Cherokee Nation did not provide complete responses to its discovery questions and that the information that it did receive left them with “more questions than answers.”
Sources: Law360, RightingInjustice.com
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