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J&J Tries to Use Supplier’s Bankruptcy to Gather Talc Suits

  • Company faces claims asbestos-laced baby powder causes cancer
  • Johnson & Johnson asks that state-filed suits move to Delaware
Johnson & Johnson baby powder is arranged for a photograph in New York, U.S., on Friday, July 15, 2011.
Johnson & Johnson baby powder is arranged for a photograph in New York, U.S., on Friday, July 15, 2011.Photographer: Scott Eells
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Johnson & Johnson wants a federal judge to take over more than 2,000 baby-powder lawsuits it faces instead of allowing the cases to be heard by state-court juries, where the company has a mixed record.

The world’s largest maker of health-care products seeks to invoke legal protections available to J&J’s bankrupt talc supplier Imerys Talc America Inc. to collect suits accusing its baby powder of causing asbestos-related cancers before a single judge in Delaware. Imerys sought Chapter 11 protection in bankruptcy court there in February after being swamped by talc suits.