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Schizophrenia drug Risperdal is arranged in a Cambridge, Massachusetts pharmacy Tuesday, October 17th. Johnson & Johnson said third-quarter earnings rose 8.7 percent led by sales of prescription drugs inlcuding the schizophrenia drug Risperdal. Schizophrenia drug Risperdal. Photo: Bloomberg

The $8 billion Risperdal verdict last week against Johnson & Johnson raised an increasingly common question: What convinces jurors to come back with such stratospheric awards?

The answer is not that simple. Lawyers and legal experts list a host of reasons: evolving societal norms, changes in the plaintiffs bar and the actions of defendants. Most agree that though billion-dollar verdicts have not necessarily increased in frequency, jury awards in general are getting larger.

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Amanda Bronstad

Amanda Bronstad is the ALM staff reporter covering class actions and mass torts nationwide. She writes the email dispatch Critical Mass. She is based in Los Angeles.

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