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Judge Dismisses Tylenol Lawsuit Against Johnson & Johnson, A&P

November 16, 1988

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) _ A judge said neither a drug company nor a grocery chain could be blamed for the death of a woman killed by cyanide-tainted Tylenol capsules, and he dismissed a $93 million suit filed by her estate.

Diane Elsroth, 23, died in 1986 after taking Tylenol from a box that had not been opened. The death was ruled a homicide but the murder was never solved.

U.S. District Judge Gerard L. Goettel on Tuesday said that authorities had not determined exactly how the capsules had been tampered with but that there was no dispute it occurred ″after the product left the manufacturer’s control.″

″An injustice has been done,″ Goettel said of Ms. Elsroth’s death. ″But we think a second would be perpetrated were we to permit recovery against these defendants for a wrong they did not truly commit.″

Ms. Elsroth died two days after taking two Extra-Strength Tylenol capsules in Yonkers.

The lawsuit, alleging negligence and product liability, named as defendants McNeil Consumer Products Co., which manufactures Tylenol; its parent, McNeilab Inc., and the A&P supermarket chain, from which the Tylenol was bought.

Spokesmen for the two companies said they were pleased by the decision.

Russell Clune, an attorney for the Elsroth family, said he had no comment.

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