April 2, 2019 — Johnson & Johnson has paid 3 confidential settlements to women who developed mesothelioma after using baby powder that was contaminated with asbestos.
One of the settlements ended a trial in Oklahoma while the jury was deliberating. Another settlement ended a trial in California that had just begun. The third settlement prevented a case in New York from going to trial in the upcoming weeks, according to Law360.
The settlements may be a sign that attorneys for J&J are attempting to keep cases out of the courtroom when there is a potential risk of multi-million or billion-dollar jury verdicts.
The company may be targeting specific cases for a pre-trial resolution to avoid trials that pose the biggest risks.
For example, last year a jury in St. Louis, Missouri resulted in a $4.69 billion verdict in favor of 22 women who developed ovarian cancer after using Johnson’s Baby Powder and other talcum powder products manufactured by J&J.
The problem may also be related to damaging evidence that has emerged in trials. Internal documents from J&J appeared to show that the company had found asbestos in its talcum powder products decades ago, and tried to keep the issue quiet.
J&J stock plummeted after those reports, falling 17%, and resulting in a $40 billion drop in the company’s market value.
About 13,000 lawsuits have been filed by people who developed mesothelioma or ovarian cancer after using J&J’s talcum powder products.
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