On Sept. 20th U.S. District Judge David R. Herndon of the Southern District of Illinois denied certain arguments made by Johnson & Johnson and related entities asserted in their motion to dismiss a class action complaint filed by class Plaintiff Barbara Mihalich. The Court denied Johnson & Johnson’s argument to throw out Plaintiff’s Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act claims, as well as Plaintiff’s claims of unjust enrichment. However, the court dismissed the claims against Johnson & Johnson for injunctive relief.
This positive ruling for class Plaintiff Mihalich came after the class action complaint was amended in January to plead reliance in more detail. Judge Herndon said in his order that Ms. Mihalich’s claim under the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act was pleaded well enough to survive dismissal.
The class action complaint, which was filed in May 2014, alleges that Johnson & Johnson concealed from consumers the serious risks of ovarian cancer caused by the use of the company’s talcum baby powder. The complaint alleges that Johnson & Johnson made false representations to consumers that their talcum baby powder was safe, gentle and mild, and encouraged women to use the product in their genital areas daily, despite the company’s knowledge of cancer risks associated with the use of the product.
In his order upholding Plaintiff’s Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act and the unjust enrichment claims, Judge Herndon wrote, “At this stage, Plaintiff’s assertions are sufficient to withstand dismissal.” Overall, this is a very positive ruling for Plaintiffs engaged in litigation against Johnson & Johnson concerning the company’s harmful and dangerous talc powder. Another class action has been filed against Johnson & Johnson in California where the parties are currently waiting on a ruling on a motion to dismiss. If you need more information on the class action litigation, contact Ali Hawthorne, a lawyer in our firm’s Consumer Fraud and Commercial Litigation Section, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Ali.Hawthorne@beasleyallen.com.
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