The Washington Legal Foundation (WLF), a free enterprise legal nonprofit, submitted an amicus curiae brief on August 22 in support of Johnson & Johnson’s bankruptcy proceedings. The Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing of J&J’s subsidiary – LTL Management – is in response to the thousands of lawsuits alleging that J&J’s talcum powder caused permanent injury and death.
An amicus curiae brief (“friend of the court”) is a legal document that is filed by a party that is not involved with a particular case. A party files an amicus brief to show support for one side of a legal issue under the court’s consideration. In general, amicus briefs are filed in appeals that deal with matters of public interest such as civil rights cases, institutional law cases or law enforcement cases.
The WLF, a public-interest law firm and policy center that promotes individual rights, limited government and the rule of law, stated in its brief that it agreed with the lower court’s verdict that, under the law, Chapter 11 restructuring provides the easiest and fairest way for all current and future talc claimants to recover compensation.
WLF made three main arguments as to why the bankruptcy court’s decisions would be upheld:
- The bankruptcy court provides a more efficient system for claimants to recover compensation.
- The bankruptcy court provides equitable treatment for current and future claimants.
- The divisional merger or “Texas two-step” was not unlawful, improper, nor supports the hypothetical future abuse of the Texas two-step.
WLF also argued in the brief that the mass tort system is too slow, too unequal and too destructive to entities such as LTL Management over time. Therefore, bankruptcy is more efficient and more equal to not only the current and future plaintiffs, but also LTL Management and its parent, Johnson & Johnson.