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Gutierrez v. Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc.

ELR Citation: 50 ELR 20104
Nos. 19-cv-1345 DMS (AGS), (S.D. Cal., 04/27/2020) (Sabraw, J.)

A district court dismissed with leave to amend a class-action challenge to a medical device company for selling talcum products in California. Plaintiffs argued the company violated California consumer protection laws by failing to warn them of carcinogenic ingredients in their products and engaging in a decades-long campaign to convince the public that the products were safe, despite knowing since the 1970s that talc-based products contain hazardous substances like asbestos, asbestiform fibers, lead, silica, and arsenic. The company contended that plaintiffs' claims failed to comply with notice requirements under the state's Proposition 65 warning law, which requires businesses to notify consumers about the presence of cancer-causing chemicals, and thus moved to dismiss. The court found the plaintiffs' claims were an impermissible attempt to plead around the notice requirements, but that they had attempted to plead viable theories of liability under the consumer protection laws separate and apart from Proposition 65. It therefore granted the company's motion to dismiss with leave to file an amended complaint.