April 5, 2023 — Johnson & Johnson proposed an $8.9 billion settlement to resolve thousands of lawsuits involving talcum powder products.
The company is facing at least 60,000 lawsuits involving people with cancer who used talcum powder, such as Johnson’s Baby Powder or Shower-to-Shower.
Many of the plaintiffs are women with ovarian cancer who used baby powder and other talc-based products on their genital area for feminine hygiene.
Other lawsuits involve people with a type of lung cancer called mesothelioma, which they claim was caused by breathing asbestos in talcum powder.
Earlier this year, the company failed to use a controversial tactic called the Texas Two-Step, which involved offloading thousands of talc lawsuits onto a subsidiary company, which then filed for bankruptcy.
After a 3-judge panel unanimously rejected the Texas Two-Step maneuver because Johnson & Johnson was not actually insolvent, the company said it would have the subsidiary re-file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and ask the court to approve the $8.9 billion settlement.
For the deal to be finalized, the court would have to approve the new bankruptcy filing and the settlement itself, which will involve persuading enough plaintiffs to support the plan.
Erik Haas, Johnson & Johnson’s worldwide vice president of litigation, issued this statement:
“Resolving these cases in the tort system would take decades and impose significant costs on LTL and the system, with most claimants never receiving any compensation.”
If approved, the settlement would end a long-running litigation that has seen some massive jury verdicts against Johnson & Johnson totaling hundreds of millions of dollars.
Last year, Johnson & Johnson announced that it would end all worldwide sales of talc-based products. The company continues to deny any link between talcum powder and cancer.
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