U.S. decide quickly halts Johnson & Johnson talc circumstances, strikes them to New Jersey By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A bottle of Johnson and Johnson Baby Powder is featured in a photo illustration taken in New York on February 24, 2016. REUTERS / Mike Segar / Illustration

By Maria Chutchian

CHARLOTTE, NC (Reuters) – A U.S. judge granted Johnson & Johnson (NYSE 🙂 temporary respite on tens of thousands of claims that its talc-based products cause cancer, but dealt the drug company a potential setback by referring the cases to court where the results may be less favorable.

US bankruptcy judge Craig Whitley in Charlotte, North Carolina put the claims on hold for 60 days and ordered them to be transferred to federal court in New Jersey.

The judge said at a hearing that New Jersey was the “most natural solution” to the allegations given that J&J is based there and the state controls much of the national litigation over its talc products.

J & J’s shares rose 1% to $ 164.10 in late afternoon trading.

J&J has claimed that its talc products are safe.

While New Jersey is its home state, J&J wanted the claims to remain in North Carolina, as that court has seen what is known as “mass crime” bankruptcies and favorable legal precedents.

“While we believe this North Carolina case was properly handled, we will continue to work with all parties to find an efficient and equitable solution,” said John Kim, LTL Management LLC’s chief legal officer.

J&J formed LTL to keep its talc debt near bankruptcy, where it hopes to settle talc claims separately from the parent company.

These efforts have been questioned by talc users who later developed cancer and their families.

Her lawyers argued that J&J shouldn’t take advantage of bankruptcy protection unless it has filed for bankruptcy itself and is financially strong.

They also said that shielding J&J would disrupt upcoming litigation, resulting in unprecedented “overreach” in mass bankruptcy cases.

Andy Birchfield, a lawyer at Beasley Allen who represents many plaintiffs, said in a statement, “Any delayed justice is denied justice,” but welcomed the postponed claims.

J&J “shouldn’t be able to manipulate the bankruptcy system – in any state – to avoid liability for decades of corporate negligence and the resulting death and illness of thousands of victims,” ​​he said.

J&J spent nearly $ 1 billion defending itself against nearly 40,000 legal claims that its baby powder and other talc-containing products caused mesothelioma and ovarian cancer.

Settlements and judgments have cost the New Brunswick (NYSE :)-based New Jersey-based company about $ 3.5 billion more, although it has caught on in some cases.

LTL had argued that allowing the litigation would defeat the purpose of the bankruptcy, which was to consolidate and settle all talc claims.

It also said the lawsuit would reduce the insurance revenue available for settlement as the same policies covered J&J and LTL.

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