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Johnson & Johnson asks to move commercial litigation

When New Jersey businesses make a product, they hope that those products are well received by consumers. However, there are cases where those products cause issues and lead to business ligation — most frequently to product liability suits.

Corporate giant, Johnson & Johnson is currently facing 14 lawsuits in New Jersey over its pain reliever Tylenol. A total of 187 cases involving Tylenol have been filed across the country. According to the suits, Johnson & Johnson failed to adequately warn consumers that the medication could cause severe liver damage. The plaintiffs claim that Johnson & Johnson fails to warn consumers of all the potential side effects of Tylenol — even when taking a recommended dose. They claim that Tylenol is the leading cause of liver failure in the United States. Furthermore, they claim that Johnson & Johnson should tell consumers that there are safer pain relievers on the market.

Johnson & Johnson, on the other hand, argues that Tylenol has been on the market for over 50 years and its risk — particularly for liver disease — is well known. The company also claims that Tylenol has had a warning about the risk of liver damage on its bottles since 2005 which was four years before a label about liver damage was required by the Food and Drug Administration.

Recently, Johnson & Johnson has petitioned the court to move all of the 14 New Jersey cases to one court under one judge. They have asked that the cases all be moved to New Brunswick where the company is headquartered. Legal experts see this as a good way to consolidate the cases for easier management and as a way to ensure a more favorable juror pool. The plaintiffs, on the other hand, oppose the motion claiming that this move is nothing more than forum shopping.

This motion is just one step in what will be a long and complicated commercial litigation case. New Jersey businesses involved in products liability cases should know that proper management of these cases is key in mitigating the damage caused by the suit.

Source: The Star-Ledger, “Johnson & Johnson seeks home court advantage in Tylenol liver damage lawsuits,” Alexi Friedman, June 9, 2013

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