J&J to report earnings Tuesday morning

Johnson & Johnson will report first quarter earnings Tuesday morning before the stock market opens in New York and then host a conference call with Wall Street analysts, and it will be interesting to see if company officials are questioned about legal losses in Risperdal litigation.

Dominic Caruso, the J&J chief financial officer, and Louise Mehrotra, the vice president of investor relations, will host the call.

Invited analysts can ask questions. Media can listen but can't ask questions.

Some pre-announcement prognostication suggested J&J will do better financially than it did in the fourth quarter of 2011.

J&J suffered a legal defeat in Arkansas last week, when a judge whacked the company with a penalty of $1.2 billion for illegal marketing of the antipsychotic drug Risperdal through that state's Medicaid program. That was the third loss in state cases, though appeals are pending. The company also paid $158 million to settle the case in Texas, which originated with a whistleblower lawsuit by former Pennsylvania state investigator Allen Jones.

Anne Mulcahy, the former Xerox CEO and current J&J board member, tried to play down the impact in an appearance the other morning on CNBC's Squawk Box. She dismissed it by suggesting it would be reduced on appeal. The judge in the case said, according to reports from Arkansas, that the amount could not be reduced through the appeal process.

Regardless, the judge's decision might spur the federal government to push harder in its ongoing litigation with J&J over Risperdal.

The U.S. Attorney in Boston asked a judge to compel incoming CEO Alex Gorsky to give a deposition in the case since Gorsky was in charge of the Janssen subsidiary that marketed Risperdal.