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More Asbestos Talc Cases Remanded to State Court

Consistent with the recent decisions of federal courts in Pennsylvania and California, district courts in Maryland and Massachusetts this week remanded the mesothelioma cases of Plaintiffs Carol Kerkhof and Lorraine O’Riorden to their respective state courts. Defendant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) had removed these actions to federal court, asserting that the pending bankruptcy of its sole talc supplier, Imerys Talc America, Inc., made the cases “related” to Imerys’s bankruptcy proceedings in federal court in Delaware. J&J filed an accompanying motion to transfer the venue of all of its pending talc cases to Delaware to “centralize” and streamline the litigation. In issuing their remand orders, the courts noted that most, if not all, of the claims against J&J do not implicate Imerys or depend on their liability, and the delay in pursuing the actions in federal court caused actual prejudice to the plaintiffs.