appeals court


Women suing J&J speak out after company’s failed legal maneuver

  • March 7, 2023

In the long legal fight over allegations that talc in Johnson & Johnson baby powder is linked to ovarian cancer, plaintiffs got an incremental victory on Monday: A federal appeals court rejected J&J’s effort to move more than 38,000 lawsuits to bankruptcy court.

Plaintiff Deborah Smith’s case was held up for 15 months because of the attempted maneuver, a legal strategy colloquially known as the Texas Two-Step. J&J’s approach relied on the creation of a subsidiary called LTL Management that could take on the liability for talc-related legal claims. Within days of its creation in 2021, LTL filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

By that time, more than two years had passed since Smith filed her suit. The news of the Two-Step, she said, felt like “a slap in the face.”

“If that was someone in their family, would they drag it out like that?” Smith said. “It’s almost like they’re playing a waiting game to see how many people will just die or just give up fighting.”

Smith was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2003, she said, after her doctor discovered a tumor during a procedure to remove a uterine fibroid. She had two surgeries and three cycles of chemotherapy, she added, leading her hair to fall out in bunches. It never grew back properly, so Smith said she still wears wigs.

According to Smith’s suit, she used J&J’s baby powder as a feminine hygiene product to absorb sweat and keep her skin dry for more than 15 years. The suit says Smith also used Shower to Shower, a talc-based product formerly manufactured by J&J, until 2003. 

Smith’s lawsuit cites more than 25 published studies dating back to 1982 that evaluate a link between talc and ovarian cancer risk. The suit alleges that nearly all those studies document a

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J&J’s Talc Bankruptcy Case Gets Tossed by Appeals Court (1)

  • March 2, 2023

Johnson & Johnson can’t use bankruptcy to resolve more than 40,000 US cancer lawsuits over its now-withdrawn baby powder, a federal appeals court ruled.

The three-judge panel in Philadelphia sided with cancer victims, who argued J&J wrongly put its specially created unit, LTL Management, under court protection to block juries around the country from hearing the lawsuits and handing out damage awards.

The ruling means J&J will most likely need to defend itself against claims that tainted talc in its baby powder causes cancer. The company has lost a number of such cases — including one that was appealed all the way to the US Supreme Court, before J&J was forced to pay more than $2 billion to one group of victims.

Shares of J&J dropped as much as 7.2% in New York on Monday before closing down 3.7%. J&J removed its iconic talc-based baby powder from the US market in 2020 and is slated to have it off markets across the globe by the end of this year.

The judges found only companies directly threatened with financial troubles can use bankruptcy. Since J&J itself never claimed to be in immediate danger, it can’t benefit from Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code by putting a unit under court protection, the judges found.

“Good intentions — such as to protect the J&J brand or comprehensively resolve litigation — do not suffice alone,” to file for bankruptcy, Judge Thomas Ambro wrote. “What counts to access the Bankruptcy Code’s safe harbor is to meet its intended purposes. Only a putative debtor in financial distress can do so. LTL was not. Thus we dismiss its petition.”

The ruling may drive a settlement, according to Holly Froum, a litigation analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence. A settlement of the more-than 40,000 suits

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Kentucky attorney general asks state Supreme Court to reinstate abortion ban

  • July 5, 2022

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R) asked the state’s Supreme Court on Sunday to reinstate an abortion ban that briefly went into effect following the overturning of Roe v. Wade but was later blocked by a lower court.

kentucky/” data-ylk=”slk:A judge on Thursday had temporarily blocked” class=”link “A judge on Thursday had temporarily blocked the implementation of two state laws, which would effectively ban abortion unless necessary to save the woman’s life, following a challenge from abortion-rights groups arguing that Kentucky’s state constitution protected abortion rights. An appeals court judge later denied a request from Cameron to reinstate the ban.

“We are exhausting every possible avenue to have Kentucky’s Human Life Protection Act and Heartbeat Law reinstated,” Cameron said in a statement. “There is no more important issue than protecting life, and we are urging the state’s highest court to consider our request for emergency relief.”

Cameron’s filings with Kentucky’s Supreme Court argue there is no right to abortion in the state’s constitution and that without an emergency ruling from it, unborn children will suffer immediate and irreparable harm.

Samuel Crankshaw — spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, which represents one of the abortion providers in the suit — praised the appeals court ruling that affirmed blocking the law’s immediate implementation.

“We’re glad to see the Court of Appeals agrees the lower court has taken proper emergency action to protect abortion access,” Crankshaw said in a statement. “This win is temporary, but we won’t back down in the fight to defend Kentuckians’ most basic rights from extremist politicians like Daniel Cameron.”

Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, another plaintiff in the suit, did not immediately return a request for comment.

The US Supreme Court last month upheld a 15-week abortion ban in

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Courts are still debating the legality of DACA

  • July 5, 2022

A federal appeals court in July is slated to hear arguments over the legality of an Obama-era program that prevents the deportation of immigrants who entered the United States illegally as children.

Despite this pending litigation, Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., has called the program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, “illegal.”

“Today marks the tenth anniversary of the illegal DACA program,” Biggs tweeted June 15. “In 2012, Obama usurped Congress’ unambiguous authority to make immigration laws to implement this program. Rewarding people who violate our laws only encourage additional lawbreaking.”

Since its creation, DACA has been the subject of many legal challenges.

In July 2021, a federal judge in Texas ruled that the Obama administration did not follow the law when it created the program.

The Biden administration appealed Judge Andrew S. Hanen’s ruling, and oral arguments are scheduled to begin on July 6 in the 5th Circuit US Court of Appeals. Immigration law experts say the case is likely to end up in the Supreme Court.

“The last word on the legality of DACA obviously has not been said, but DACA today is fully operational for those people who are current recipients of it,” said Muzaffar Chishti, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute.

Because a final ruling on the program’s legality is pending, at this point we won’t be rating Biggs’ claim on the Truth-O-Meter. In the meanwhile, here’s what immigration law experts told us about the program and why it may be “premature” to make a definitive claim about its legality.

Brief overview

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