The Justice Department's bankruptcy watchdog is objecting to Johnson & Johnson's talc subsidiary retention of former Solicitor General Neal Katyal for a high-stakes appeal over a legal strategy that moved thousands of talc injury suits to chapter 11.

The U.S. Trustee, a Justice Department unit monitoring the nation's bankruptcy courts, said in a Friday court filing that J&J's talc unit hasn't demonstrated the cost of Mr. Katyal's services are reasonable or needed since the company has already hired other top law firms. Mr. Katyal, now a partner at the Hogan Lovells law firm, has an hourly rate of $2,465, according to court documents.

The appeal Mr. Katyal and other Hogan Lovells lawyers are being retained for concerns J&J's LTL Management LLC, which was created to file chapter 11 and drive settlements of about 38,000 talc injury suits. The strategy, which is being opposed by plaintiffs' lawyers, was approved by a bankruptcy judge earlier this year.

A judge earlier denied U.S. Trustee objections to LTL's retention of firms Jones Day and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.

 

Write to Jonathan Randles at jonathan.randles@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 20, 2022 18:12 ET (22:12 GMT)

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