In an effort to avoid numerous jury trials scheduled for 2024, Johnson & Johnson is making efforts to resolve numerous lawsuits claiming consumers were exposed to asbestos through the company’s talc-based baby powder. Asbestos has been linked to many forms of cancer, most notably mesothelioma, and reproductive cancers and conditions.
The New Jersey-based company discontinued production of its talc-based powders in the United States and Canada in 2020, replacing it with a cornstarch-based powder. The world’s largest healthcare manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson, announced plans to remove all talcum-based powders worldwide by the end of 2023.
To date, three settlement agreements have been reached covering 100 cases against Johnson & Johnson, though the dollar amount of those settlements has not been publicly disclosed. A federal judge previously denied a request to settle all current and future cases against the company for $9 billion in a unit bankruptcy filing – an effort to curb a decline in the company’s shares.
More than 50,000 filed lawsuits allege that Johnson & Johnson executives have known about asbestos levels in talcum since the early 1970s but failed to disclose the potential risks publicly. The company asserts that it has properly marketed baby powder for over 100 years and insists the products are not cancer-causing. The majority of the lawsuits have been filed by women diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
In addition to clearing next year’s trials, the company is hoping to resolve the cases through another bankruptcy filing. Johnson & Johnson has twice denied attempts to use bankruptcy measures as a means to force settlements by establishing a trust to pay victims. The company is appealing the court’s decision. Reaching settlement agreements in all current and future cases would better position the company for approval in a third bankruptcy filing.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler by calling 215-569-4000 or contacting us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including Delaware County, Chester County, and Philadelphia County.