The Georgia Supreme Court refused to review a ruling that plaintiffs were too late in bringing strict liability claims against a Georgia-based company they say packaged Johnson & Johnson baby powder that contained asbestos, causing a woman’s ovarian cancer.
The high court didn’t give a reason when it denied certiorari to Shirley and Richard Eubanks, letting stand a ruling from June by a Georgia Court of Appeals panel finding that strict liability claims against PTI Royston LLC are time-barred.
The lower appellate court reversed a trial court order that found the statute of repose did not affect claims made under the state’s Asbestos Claims Act, ruling that the act’s language only refers to statutes of limitations, not to repose, and thus the general tort statute of repose still applies.
PTI blended, tested, bottled and packaged Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder at its facility in Royston, Georgia, from August 2005 through 2019. Shirley Eubanks alleged that asbestos in that powder caused her ovarian cancer.
In December 2019, the Eubankses brought claims against several Johnson & Johnson companies and affiliates, including PTI and Arizona-based Cyprus Amax Minerals Co., which was dropped as a defendant in September 2020. They accused Johnson & Johnson of falsely representing the talc as safe and asbestos-free, and of concealing information to the contrary. The other defendants in the suit are not parties to this appeal.