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Class Action Certified Against Johnson & Johnson, Lifescan Canada Ltd. and Lifescan Inc. on Behalf of Diabetics

TORONTO, July 15, 2004 In a decision released on July 6, 2004, Mr. Justice Cullity of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice certified a class action involving allegedly defective SureStep blood glucose meters manufactured before August 1, 1997, bearing a serial number the first five digits of which were in the series L6000 to L7205 or a serial number in the series L7206-GA-00001 to L7206-GA-01128 ("SureStep Meters"), and strips manufactured before March 1, 1998 ("SureStep Strips") used in conjunction with the meters. Diabetics use these products to monitor their blood glucose levels.

The court certified a class comprised of all individuals in Ontario and elsewhere in Canada, except British Columbia and Quebec, who used a SureStep Meter on or after February 1, 1996 and/or who used a SureStep Strip on or after February 1, 1996, and the personal representatives of any such individuals who have died.

The defendants are the manufacturer of the products, LifeScan Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, and LifeScan Canada Ltd., which marketed the products in Canada.

The defendants have admitted that the SureStep Meters were defective in that, in some cases, they showed an error reading instead of a high blood glucose level. Further, if a SureStep Strip was inserted incompletely, the Meter could have provided an erroneously low reading. The plaintiffs allege that the SureStep Meters and SureStep Strips were dangerously defective devices that could lead to serious health consequences.

In the United States, following a federal investigation, LifeScan Inc. pleaded guilty to three strict liability misdemeanours and paid a fine of $29,000,000 as a result of its conduct in regard to the SureStep Meter and Strips. A class action, filed in California, resulted in a settlement of approximately the same amount.

In the plaintiffs' amended statement of claim, the plaintiffs ask that the defendants hold all revenue generated from the sale of the products in a constructive trust for the benefit of the class members. There is also a claim for an accounting, an order requiring the disgorgement of such revenues, and punitive damages.

The certification stage of a class proceeding is a procedural step and is not an adjudication of the merits of the action.

The plaintiffs are represented by the law firms of Sutts, Strosberg LLP and Koskie Minsky LLP. Both firms are widely acknowledged as leading Canadian class action law firms.

For further information, please contact:
Harvey T. Strosberg
Sutts, Strosberg LLP

Kirk M. Baert
Koskie Minsky LLP

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