The Johnson & Johnson logo is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 29, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

U.S. judge temporarily halts Johnson & Johnson talc cases, moves them to New Jersey

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Nov 10 (Reuters) – A U.S. judge gave Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) a brief reprieve from tens of 1000’s of claims that its talc-based merchandise trigger most cancers, however handed the drugmaker a possible setback by transferring the circumstances to a courtroom the place the outcomes may be much less favorable.

U.S. Chapter Judge Craig Whitley in Charlotte, North Carolina, put the claims on maintain for 60 days, whereas directing that they be moved to a federal courtroom in New Jersey.

The judge mentioned at a listening to that New Jersey was the “most natural fit” for the claims as a result of J&J relies there, and the state is dwelling to a lot of the nationwide litigation over its talc merchandise.

Shares of J&J had been up 1% at $164.10 in late afternoon buying and selling.

J&J has maintained that its talc merchandise are secure.

Whereas New Jersey is its dwelling state, J&J wished the claims to keep in North Carolina due to that courtroom’s expertise with so-called “mass tort” bankruptcies, and due to favorable authorized precedents.

“Although we believe this case was properly venued in North Carolina, we will continue to work with all parties to seek an efficient and equitable resolution,” mentioned John Kim, chief authorized officer of LTL Administration LLC.

J&J created LTL to maintain its talc liabilities shortly earlier than inserting it out of business, the place it hopes to settle the talc claims separate from the mother or father firm.

That effort has been challenged by talc customers who later obtained most cancers, in addition to by their households.

Their legal professionals have argued that J&J shouldn’t reap the advantages of chapter safety when it has not filed for chapter itself and is financially robust.

Additionally they mentioned shielding J&J would intrude with upcoming trials, amounting to an unprecedented “overreach” in mass tort chapter circumstances.

Andy Birchfield, a lawyer at Beasley Allen representing many plaintiffs, in an announcement mentioned “any justice delayed is justice denied” however welcomed the claims being moved.

J&J “should not be able to manipulate the bankruptcy system – in any state – to avoid liability for decades of corporate negligence, and the resulting deaths and disease suffered by thousands of victims,” he mentioned.

J&J has spent shut to $1 billion defending towards practically 40,000 authorized claims that its child powder and different talc-containing merchandise brought about mesothelioma and ovarian most cancers.

Settlements and verdicts have value the New Brunswick, New Jersey-based firm about $3.5 billion extra, though it has prevailed in some circumstances.

LTL had argued that letting the litigation proceed would defeat the aim of the chapter, which was to consolidate and settle all talc claims.

It additionally mentioned the litigation would cut back insurance coverage proceeds obtainable for a settlement, as a result of the identical insurance policies coated J&J and LTL.

Reporting by Maria Chutchian; Writing by Jonathan Stempel; Modifying by Alexia Garamfalvi and Invoice Berkrot

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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