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Johnson & Johnson's Attempts to Avoid State Court Fail

On April 18, 2019, Johnson & Johnson began removing hundreds of talc cases filed against it from State Courts to Federal Courts. Johnson & Johnson’s ultimate goals were to delay trials and consolidate thousands of the talc cases against it in a single Court of its choosing located in Delaware. If such consolidation were to occur, it could take years, if not longer, for persons injured by Johnson & Johnson talc to get their cases heard in State far removed from where their claims were originally filed.

Plaintiffs in the removed cases immediately started asking the Federal Courts to return the cases to the State Courts, arguing that the Federal Courts had no jurisdiction over their claims against Johnson & Johnson and that even if they did, principals of fairness strongly favored the cases staying in State Courts.

Clients of George & Farinas were among those who had their case removed. George & Farinas, working in cooperation with other lawyers around the country, immediately asked for the case to be returned to State Court, to give their clients the best chance of a prompt and fair trial in Indiana. On May 14, 2019, the Honorable Robyn Moberly heard arguments from Johnson & Johnson and George & Farinas on the matter.

After considering both sides’ arguments, Judge Moberly immediately ruled the case should return to State Court. Finding both that Johnson & Johnson had failed to establish the Federal Court had jurisdiction, and that “the equities of the case strongly support remand,” the Court noted the speculative nature of Johnson & Johnson’s arguments, the client’s serious medical condition, and the expertise of the State Courts all weighed heavily in favor of the case being in State Court.

Around the Country, other Federal Courts have also unanimously rejected Johnson & Johnson’s attempts at delay and Court-shopping. To date, over 250 cases have been returned to the State Court where they originated, and not a single Federal Court has determined claims against Johnson & Johnson should not be returned. Such decisions have helped ensure that hundreds of injured individuals and their families can have their cases timely heard by a jury close to home. George & Farinas will continue to monitor this situation around the country and to act to protect the interests of their clients.

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