Posted by : Ed Lott, Ph.D., M.B.A.
On November 10, a federal judge in Charlotte, NC who is overseeing Johnson and Johnson’s bankruptcy trial temporarily halted approximately 38,000 talc-related personal injury lawsuits pending in state and federal courts, ruling the cases are more properly venued in New Jersey. Although the litigation stay gives the pharmaceutical giant a 60-day delay in the proceedings against it, it is viewed as a setback for the company. Last month, J&J created LTL Management LLC, a new subsidiary, in Texas to handle all its talc-related liability separately from the parent company and then quickly filed for bankruptcy in North Carolina, a venue viewed as favorable to these types of proceedings.
Bankruptcy Judge Craig Whitley had appeared to be skeptical of J&J’s legal maneuver from the outset, stating at the hearing that the litigation belonged in New Jersey, pointing to the fact that J&J is headquartered there and the ongoing multi-district talc litigation is already pending there. In a motion filed with the court, a court administrator had argued that LTL had no real connection to North Carolina.
In a brief filed on November 19, the Official Committee of Talc Claimants argued that LTL’s informational brief was “more in the nature of advocacy than factual recitation” and suggested a “case trajectory that is unrealistic, at best”.
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