<![CDATA[NBC 10 Philadelphia - Local News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC10_40x125.png NBC 10 Philadelphia http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com en-us Sat, 28 Feb 2015 01:59:01 -0500 Sat, 28 Feb 2015 01:59:01 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Philadelphia Parking Authority Calls for New Taxi Rules]]> Sat, 28 Feb 2015 00:02:21 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000009623683_1200x675_405793859837.jpg The Philadelphia Parking Authority is calling for new taxi rules to help the taxi companies remain competitive against newcomers like Uber and Lyft.]]> <![CDATA[School Spirit or Racial Taunt? Some Find Skit Offensive]]> Sat, 28 Feb 2015 00:09:07 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/monkey+banana+high+school+game+controvery.PNG

Costumes worn by students performing a skit during an Atlantic County, New Jersey high school basketball game have some crying foul claiming it was racist.

Dressed as a banana and monkey, two students from Holy Spirit High School tried to distract players from Atlantic City High School as they faced off at a tournament last week. Atlantic City's team is predominately black.

The skit, which also included a student dressed as a cowgirl and another as a bumblebee, was performed in the Holy Spirit student section and was recorded on video.

"I absolutely think it was offensive," said Ricardo Belgrave as he left Friday night's match up against the two teams. "You should know when you're putting that costume on, it should come in your mind that this might offend African-American people."

But not everyone agreed.

"To me it was harmless kids pranks, you know. I didn't see any racial overtones to anything," said Jack Versput.

Jermaine Baskerville said the kids were "just being silly," but believes their parents and administrators should have stepped in.

The Cape Atlantic League's board of referees tells NBC10 the behavior was not appropriate and the game's referees were reprimanded.

Students from Holy Spirit High School will not be punished, but have been warned similar actions would not be tolerated.

There were no reports of issues at Friday night's game.



Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Run Over by Bus, Officers Jump Into Action]]> Sat, 28 Feb 2015 00:07:27 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Tenn+run+over+by+SEPTA+Bus+Olney.PNG

A teen trying to catch a bus was run over at a busy North Philadelphia transportation hub and police are crediting some of their own for thinking fast to render lifesaving first aid.

The unidentified male teenager was running to catch the Route 6 bus as it was pulling out of SEPTA's Olney Transportation Center at Broad Street and Olney Avenue when he was hit around 3:30 p.m. Friday, the transportation authority and police tell NBC10.

The teen was banging on the bus door, but the driver didn't hear him and he was pulled under the vehicle as it merged onto North Broad Street, police said.

SEPTA Police Chief Thomas Nestel said the teen suffered a serious injury to his lower body, possibly a severed femoral artery. That artery is the main conduit for sending blood to a person's leg.

Police arrived before paramedics and four SEPTA Police Special Operations Officers jumped into action, using a tourniquet to stop the bleeding, Nestel said.

SEPTA Police Sgt. Roland Wilson said "training and instinct" took over once they got there.

"We went over to the gentlemen, tried to calm him down. It appeared he was going into shock and the first thing we started thinking about was 'What can we do,'" Wilson said.

Officers rushed the teen to Albert Einstein Medical Center, right down the street, for treatment. He is currently in surgery and listed in critical condition, police said.

"Really proud of their fast and effective response," Nestel tells NBC10. "Hopefully they helped to save his life."

Special Operations officers are armed with medical supplies and training to provide care to those injured before firefighters and paramedics arrive on the scene.

Surveillance video from the bus has been downloaded and given to Philadelphia Police, who are picking up the investigation.



Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Arrest Made in Robbery of 13-Year-Old]]> Sat, 28 Feb 2015 00:00:43 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000009623670_1200x675_405791299923.jpg Police have made an arrest in connection the a robbery of a 13-year-old boy. Police are expecting two other suspects to surrender at a later date.]]> <![CDATA[Man Critical After Shooting in West Oak Lane]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 21:53:59 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/214*120/West+Philly+Gun+Police+Shooting+Revolver+Generic.JPG

A man is fighting for his life after being shot along a North Philadelphia street.

The 31-year-old vicitm was shot twice in the stomach around 7:30 p.m. Friday along the 7700 block of Thouron Avenue in the city's West Oak Lane neighborhood, police said.

He was taken to Albert Einstein Medical Center in a private vehicle, police said. He's listed in citical condition.

No word on a suspect or the circumstances surrounding the shooting.



Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Ramp Damaged by Tanker Fire Reopens]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 20:54:34 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/ramp+destroyed+tanker+fire.jpg

A busy ramp from a Delaware River bridge that was damaged after a tanker carrying gasoline caught fire earlier this week has reopened.

One lane of the Betsy Ross Bridge "D" ramp in Pennsauken, New Jersey, which shuttles drivers from Route 90 East to US-130 North and South, was opened to traffic Friday evening.

The ramp suffered serious damage late Monday morning after a tractor-trailer carrying 8,000 gallons of gasoline overturned and ignited. The fuel burned uncontrollably for nearly an hour before a hazmat team sprayed foam on the flames.

The truck's driver was banged up, but didn't suffer any other injuries. The intense fire prompted evacuations in the nearby neighborhood. It also left the roadway destroyed in places.

While one lane is ready, construction is ongoing, Delaware River Port Authority officials said. Wide load vehicles are banned from the ramp until work is complete.



Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Bridgeton Cop Named in $25M Sex Extortion Lawsuit]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 23:05:00 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/214*120/bridgeton+sex+extortion+lawsuit.PNG Officer Braheme Days was already under heavy scritiny after he shot and killed a man during a traffic stop. Now, he's been named in a multimillion dollar sex extortion lawsuit.

Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Maya's Story: Actress Boosts Awareness, Donations Jump]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 05:24:15 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/214*120/maya+story+cancer.PNG

Maya Rigler, the 10-year-old from Montgomery County, Pennsylvania battling cancer for the second time, has got a big name rooting her on: Mayim Bialik.

The 39-year-old actress, known for her role as Blossom on the 90s sitcom of the same name and as Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler on "The Big Bang Theory," took to Twitter and Facebook sharing the girl's fight. She also asked fans to help the Bryn Mawr girl raise money for Alex's Lemonade Stand.

Maya has an orange-sized tumor on her pancreas formed by a rare type of cancer called atypical Ewing's sarcoma. Doctors must shrink the tumor before they can remove it. The girl already fought and won a fight against a Wilms tumor on her kidney when she was 2-years-old.

Despite her own the health scare, Maya is working to help other kids like her by raising $100,000 for pediatric cancer research.

NBC10 told Maya's story on Wednesday and less than 24 hours later, donations to her virtual fundraising stand jumped by more than $10,000.

Donations listed on the website ranged in amounts -- $3 from one man, $500 from a rabbi.

"If everyone tells one friend and they donate the same amount of money, then we could get $100,000," she said.



Photo Credit: NBC10
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Alleged Slip & Fall Burglar Suspect Arrested]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 22:54:55 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000009622039_1200x675_405693507615.jpg SEPTA Police Officers arrested Jamal Wright who was allegedly caught on surveillance video falling after a burglary in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania.]]> <![CDATA[Dozens of Philly Firefighters Get Promotions]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 22:52:43 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000009622388_1200x675_405725763627.jpg Forty-three members of the Philadelphia Fire Department received promotions today.]]> <![CDATA[Wolf Offers Hope for Underfunded Philly Schools]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 22:51:04 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000009622386_1200x675_405726787602.jpg Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf looks to pump money back into anemic school budgets in Philadelphia.]]> <![CDATA[West Philly Students Celebrate Black History Month]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 22:48:29 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000009622393_1200x675_405728323504.jpg Students at West Philadelphia Achievement Charter School celebrated Black History Month today by picking and dressing as a black hero.]]> <![CDATA[Penn's Tuition Jumping 4 Percent]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 22:47:40 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000009622398_1200x675_405728835947.jpg The University of Pennsylvania will increase its tuition next year by 4 percent.]]> <![CDATA[Shabbat Dinner for 2,000 People]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 22:46:39 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000009622400_1200x675_405731395770.jpg University of Pennsylvania students organize a Shabbat dinner for 2,000 people]]> <![CDATA[Montco Soldier Surprises Daughter at School]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 22:40:48 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/214*120/soldiers+surprise.PNG After being away for over a year, Sergeant Dwayne West surprised his daughter at her Hatboro, Pennsylvania school on Friday.

Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Multiple Cars Collide on Roosevelt Boulevard]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 22:37:32 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000009622409_1200x675_405736003760.jpg At least three cars were involved in a crash on the Roosevelt Boulevard near Fox Street in the East Falls section of Philadelphia on Friday evening.]]> <![CDATA[Man Admits to Trying to Lure Children]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 22:35:58 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000009622418_1200x675_405737027711.jpg Nicholas Ravaioli pleads guilty for trying to lure two kids into his car in Lakewood, Ocean County, New Jersey.]]> <![CDATA[Rabies Warning After Dogs Kill Rabid Raccoon]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 22:34:05 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000009622422_1200x675_405738051662.jpg Officials in Waterford Township are warning residents to take caution after a rabid raccoon was killed by two dogs.]]> <![CDATA[Richardson Dilworth Award Given to Parks & Rec Staffer]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 22:31:51 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000009622542_1200x675_405745731924.jpg Mayor Michael Nutter gave the Richardson Dilworth Award to Barbara McCabe, Director of Stewardship at Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, for distinguished public service.]]> <![CDATA[Technology Helps Sense Water Leaks in Homes]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 23:08:22 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Water+leak+pipe+burst+spray+generic.jpg A leaking pipe can cause thousands of dollars in damage and lots of headaches, but a system used by a Jersey Shore municipality strives to sense a leak so officials can cut off the water supply before break gets out of hand. NBC10's Ted Greenberg shows us how it works.

Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Philadelphia Flower Show Sure to Be a 'Blockbuster']]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 21:11:05 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/215*120/2015+philadelphia+flower+show+film.PNG Lights, Camera, Bloom! Hollywood is the theme behind this year's Philadelphia Flower Show. NBC10's Randy Gyllenhaal ventured down to the Pennsylvania Convention Center to get a preview of the movie-inspired event.]]> <![CDATA[Phillies Prospect Eat, Live and Yoga -- Together]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 19:47:29 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/philly+prospects.png Spring training is not just about drills and sharpening your baseball skills. For some players, it's about realizing a lifelong dream -- making it to the major leagues. Comcast SportsNet's John Clark spent the day with several young Phillies hopefuls.

Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Through Students' Eyes: Camden's Past & Future on Film]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 17:12:54 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/226*120/camden+love+hate+documentary.JPG

In a story of hope and despair, a city’s long-forgotten glory and subsequent downfall are depicted from the perspective of six teens who are proud of Camden’s illustrious past yet still face an uncertain future created by the geography of their hometown.

“It is not just about us students,” said Kimel Hadden, one of the Camden Center for Youth Development pupils who worked on the documentary, "Camden Love Hate." “It is about the people who come after us. The people who may not know anything about this film but who could be helped by it.”

Hadden, 22, and his five classmates worked with filmmakers Daniel Meirom and Ron Lipsky from 2009 to 2011. The students interviewed people who work in the city, drug addicts, the homeless, neighbors, friends, family members and others, asking what they knew about the city’s past.

“It is a two part journey,” said Meirom 39. “You learn about the students and their lives and struggle and the second is you learn about the history of the city.”

While learning how to operate cameras, and lighting and audio equipment, the students discovered Camden was once an industrial hub, home to record manufacturing firm RCA Victor and the New York Shipbuilding Corporation. They found out Camden was home to the country’s first drive-in movie theater and about noteworthy residents like Walt Whitman.

“People always say how Camden used to be. It used to be this and it used to be that,” said Hadden, who learned many of his hometown’s milestones through filming. “Knowing the history of Camden and how good it was back in the day, I know I can’t do it all by myself but it only takes one person to start change.”

Hadden’s outlook is what Meirom hopes others take away from the documentary.

“Hopefully we will get the attention to our students and Camden itself,” said Meirom, who called "Camden Love Hate" the most important project of his 17 years in television and film production.

“A lot of films show you success stories that come out of horrible situations,” explained Meirom, who is currently raising funds for final postproduction editing and festival submissions. “In our film, students are still struggling to get a better life.”

Of Meirom’s six students, one is now in prison. Another found out their friend, who was interviewed for the documentary, had been murdered before they finished shooting.

“You want to hope that everything you do will help your students, but after you are done filming they have to go back to their reality,” he explained. “They can be the most talented and smart kids, but reality could pull you in the wrong direction.”

“It gives the realization,” added Hadden, “that just because you do something positive doesn’t mean everything will be positive after.”

Hadden, who currently works at a center that assists people with disabilities, said he wants to go back to school for fashion. Aside from his goal to eventually launch his own clothing line, he has hopes for his city’s future too.

“I hope many other people can get into this documentary, not just for my city but for other cities just like mine,” he said. “People can see Camden has a lot of great things in it. You just have to come here and see it.”


This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[NBC10 First Alert Weather: Frigid Weekend & Snowy Sunday]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 20:05:22 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/217*120/2.27+wx+afternoon+hurricane.JPG NBC10 First Alert Chief Meteorologist Glenn "Hurricane" Schwartz says we can expect record breaking cold with a possible snowstorm this weekend.]]> <![CDATA[Philly's Newest Entertainment Spot Rolls Into Town ]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 20:17:46 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/204*120/South+Bowl+Philadelphia+Bowling+Alley.JPG

After months of construction, preparation and working out the menu, the first ball has rolled at Philly’s newest entertainment venue.

South Bowl, with its various bowling lanes, billiard tables, brick oven pizza oven, roof deck and multiple bars opened quietly Tuesday on E. Oregon Avenue, in the shadow of Interstate 95 in South Philadelphia.

On Thursday, the new spot from the people behind North Bowl in Northern Liberties, made it official on Facebook: "Hey Philadelphia! Our doors are officially OPEN and we can’t wait to meet you!!”

The most noticeable feature of the 25,000-square foot, two-story structure is the vaulted ceiling that covers most of the main bowling area. Owners said everything from European architecture to Philly attitude went into the building's design.

During construction, co-owner Oron Daskal told NBC10 about the vibe he hoped to create in the old tomato-packing warehouse:

"We planned on making this a green oasis in the middle of the concrete,” said Daskal.

South Bowl came to fruition nine years after Daskal and his father opened North Bowl along 2nd Street in then still emerging NoLibs. Since then, North Bowl has become a very popular spot for 20-somethings and beyond, hosting leagues on most weeknights and plenty of private events — with its fair share of regulars.

“We want to be like North Bowl where this is like an everyday joint for people — people come to bowl, people come to the bar, people enjoy our employees. It’s a community to itself.”

But don’t expect South Bowl to simply be North Bowl south.

“North Bowl will always be our sweet little home … but this is the next step for us,” said Daskal. “This is defiantly a bit more of a sports environment than North Bowl. We’re close to the stadiums, we hope this is going to be a stop off on the way to games.”

And Daskal hopes the venue — with 26 lanes spread out in three different areas — can be a place for families from South Philadelphia and surrounding neighborhoods to go as well — even maybe for a birthday party or two.

Daskal said, that like North Bowl, where the place became about more than just tots, that South Bowl offers some different dining options as well, including brick-oven pizza.

“We like pizza,” he said with a smile.

Though the lanes are open to bowling and the bar is open to revelers, there is still one item being worked out: the sign outside.

Using some creativity and a little bit of elbow grease, “Thomas Colace Co.” will become “South Bowl” and be visible from I-95 in the coming days.

South Bowl is open this weekend each day until 2 a.m.



Photo Credit: Facebook - South Bowl]]>
<![CDATA['Preston and Steve' from Atop Philly's Tallest Tower]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 15:16:52 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/223*120/Preston+and+Steve+Comcast+Center+Roof.PNG

One local morning show got a breath of fresh air while visiting Philadelphia's tallest building.

The 'Preston and Steve Show,' featuring comical morning DJs Preston Elliot and Steve Morrison, were invited to take a tour of the Comcast Center by clients in conjunction with a lunch meeting about their new products, according to Marisa Magnatta, an associate producer for the show.

The team ended up getting a special tour of the rooftop and they posted the unique experience to their YouTube and Instagram accounts Thursday morning.

The video features a truly fascinating look at the City of Brotherly Love from a vantage point few have ever seen. The Comcast Center sits just west of city hall and looks out to the northwest down the historical Ben Franklin Parkway.

The skyscraper does not have an observational tower, so this was an exclusive get for two of the city's premiere voices. Naturally, they put their own little twist on things by jumping up and trying to set the nonexistent record for height above ground in Philadelphia.

Some other sights from their trip include the winding Schuylkill River along I-76, the Rocky Steps leading up to the Museum of art and other skyscrapers in Center City.

Comcast is the parent company of NBC10.



Photo Credit: WMMR
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Low-Cost Prom Dresses for NJ Teens Thanks to 'Fairy Godmother']]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 12:58:22 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000009619735_1200x675_405482563931.jpg Jinhee Lee, a senior at Rutgers University, knows how hard it can be to miss out on prom because of financial struggles -- so she did something about it.]]> <![CDATA[Former Marine Fatally Shot After Resisting Robbery]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 13:40:14 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/119818994.jpg

A former marine was fatally shot steps from his Brooklyn apartment in an attempted robbery by a group of teens, his family and police said.

Alexander Manning, who served for his country for eight years, was shot in East Flatbush on Sunday when he resisted being mugged by four teens, his family told the Daily News Thursday.

The 52-year-old was suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to his torso when officers arrived at East 52nd Street near Winthrop Avenue, police said. He was transported to Kings County Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

“He was a Marine before he became a Marine,” his sister, Olivia Manning told the Daily News. “At 12 years old, he said ‘I’m the man of the house.’ Just from a young age, he stepped up.”

Manning was a Philadelphia native who made a living in New York City renting properties, the Daily News reported. 

There have been no arrests in the case and an investigation is ongoing, police said.



Photo Credit: Getty Images/Flickr RF]]>
<![CDATA[All-City Music Fest at the Kimmel Center]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 12:55:55 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/244*120/all-city+orchestra.JPG School District of Philadelphia administrator Dennis Creedon talks about the All-City Orchestra, which will be performing at the Kimmel Center Monday night. ]]> <![CDATA[Tom Brokaw Special: 'The Men Who Changed the World']]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 12:50:24 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/239*120/tom+brokaw2.JPG Award-winning NBC journalist Tom Brokaw joins NBC10's Vai Sikahema to talk about his American Heroes Channel special, "The Men Who Changed the World."]]> <![CDATA[Read Across America Month Kicks Off in NJ]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 12:37:18 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/237*120/winslow+township+fire+chief+reads+to+kids.JPG Washington Township fire chief John Hoffman read Dr. Seuss to children at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in Gloucester County, NJ. Communities across the country kicked off the celebratory month on March 2 -- Dr. Seuss' birthday. ]]> <![CDATA[NBC10 First Alert Weather: Warm-Up, Storms Coming]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 15:35:04 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/218*120/11am+2.27+wx+hurricane.JPG Although temperatures will be warmer after the weekend, expect to see precipitation throughout the week.]]> <![CDATA[Former Mayor Frank Rizzo's Guns Up for Auction]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 11:51:33 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/sr.+Frank+Rizzo+gun+auction.jpg

Three personal firearms owned by former Philadelphia Mayor and Police Commissioner Frank Rizzo will be up for grabs at a Bucks County auction house Friday.

Bidders will get a chance at the weapons, along with Nazi war relics, at the Firearms & Militaria Auction at Stephenson's Auctioneers, located in Southampton, Pennsylvania.

Each gun comes with a letter of authenticity signed by the late two-term Philly mayor known for his tough stance on crime.

A stainless steel American Derringer firearms .38 caliber pistol is estimated to go for $300 to $500,  a Sterling Arms model 300 pistol is expected to net $100 to $200, and an antique revolver -- a Baby Hammerless .22 caliber short -- is anticipated to bring in another $100 to $200.

"There is a lot of interest in them, so they may go over estimates," said Cindy Stephenson, owner of the auction house.

A Philadelphia estate passed Rizzo's guns on to Stephenson's as part of a larger collection of firearms, she said.

"He was a big Rizzo admirer," she said. Rizzo died in 1991 at the age of 70.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER]]> <![CDATA[Man's 46 DD Breasts Worth $2.5M: Jury]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 13:24:00 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/medicamentos-compartidos-peligrosos-salud-18.jpg

A Philadelphia jury said Tuesday that drugmaker Johnson & Johnson should pay $2.5 million to a 20-year-old man with autism from Alabama — who developed size 46 DD breasts as a young teenager — because the company failed to adequately warn of that potential side effect from his use of the antipsychotic drug Risperdal.

This was the first case related to the condition called gynecomastia that went to a jury, but thousands more lawsuits are lined up in Philadelphia, California, Missouri, and other locations.

J&J paid $2.2 billion in 2013 to settle federal and state criminal and civil charges related to illegal marketing of the drug, but that did not stop individual lawsuits related to adverse events.

"The jury in Philadelphia heard evidence that was never presented to the FDA by an American drug company," said Philadelphia lawyer Thomas Kline, who represented the plaintiff, Austin Pledger, and his family. "If there was ever a clear failure-to-warn case, this was it."

Robyn Frenze, a spokeswoman for J&J's Janssen subsidiary, which makes Risperdal, said the company was "disappointed and will consider all of our options going forward, including appeals. We firmly believe this verdict should be overturned." Janssen has several facilities in Philadelphia's suburbs.

Though drug companies cannot officially promote drugs for unapproved uses, doctors can prescribe them as they see fit.

Risperdal was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1993 for adults with schizophrenia. It was not approved for any use in children and adolescents until late 2006.

By then, a Janssen sales representative had made more than 20 visits to the pediatric neurologist treating Pledger in a Birmingham suburb. Pledger was given Risperdal for the first time in 2002 at age 8 because his mother sought something to help with his irritability brought on by autism.

In front of Common Pleas Court Judge Ramy Djerassi, Pledger's doctor, Jan Mathisen, testified that he was unaware of information contained in one Janssen study that suggested gynecomastia could result from use of the drug. If he had been, he said, he would have discussed it with the family. And when the drug was approved for children with autism disorder in 2006, he said, he, like many doctors, did not read the entire revised label and would have wanted someone to tell him of the increased risk.

Janssen attorney Diane Sullivan stressed to the jury that the company's label adequately conveyed the risks of using the drug.

But the plaintiffs' star witness, former FDA Commissioner David Kessler, testified that Janssen did not do enough to warn patients, doctors, and the FDA when one of its own studies showed higher levels of the hormone prolactin, which can lead to gynecomastia.

"If somebody is sending a sales rep into a doctor's office, into a pediatric neurologist's office, and doing it multiple times, you have an obligation to provide adequate direction," Kessler said. "Tell the good. Tell the bad."

Kline expects Janssen to appeal to Superior Court, and plans to appeal a 2014 decision by Common Pleas Court Judge Arnold New that punitive damages are not allowed in Risperdal cases.

University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias, who follows pharmaceutical cases, said he thought J&J might fight a bit longer.

"I think that a plaintiff's verdict sends a message to J&J that it needs to take these cases seriously and perhaps even needs to seriously consider settling them," Tobias said. "However, I expect the company will want to try a number more and see if it can persuade juries to rule for J&J."



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>