Judge George H. Wu of the United States District Court for the Central District of California granted a request by plaintiffs for the refiling of their lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson (J&J), according to Law360.
The seven plaintiffs requested this refiling after Judge Wu disallowed any further amendments to their existing complaint. Now, the seven women voluntarily dismiss their case without prejudice as they pursue new cases of consumers harmed by unlabeled talc products, which may cause adverse health effects.
The refiling of this talc lawsuit will still address Johnson & Johnson's failure to label products but would also add Valeant Pharmaceuticals and Claire's to the list of defendants - who may also be liable for not placing warning labels on talc products.
Although the seven plaintiffs are allowed to pursue new cases, Judge Wu conditioned the motion, requiring the plaintiffs to pay the legal fees that Johnson & Johnson had incurred in the former lawsuit.
Judge Wu did warn the megacorporation, however, that "the court will take a skeptical view of any signs of overlawyering." In accordance, Judge Wu will determine the legal fee that plaintiffs must pay.
Johnson & Johnson has opposed the dismissal - calling it a “transparent tactical maneuver” to gain an advantage over Johnson & Johnson. J&J's attorney Peter Bicks added that he viewed the dismissal as proof that Johnson & Johnson was not guilty, stating that "plaintiffs dropped their case to avoid a ruling on the merits."
Whether or not there was enough merit to settle the lawsuits in the plaintiff’s favor remains unclear.
Attorneys at The Lanier Law Firm who represent the refiling seven plaintiffs are now hard at work constructing a new complaint to include additional defendants.
As Law 360 notes, The Lanier Law Firm also represents the 22 women who won $4.69 billion in a July 2018 St. Louis trial on their claims that asbestos in J&J's talc caused their ovarian cancer.