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Johnson & Johnson Proposes $6.5 Billion Settlement for Talc Lawsuits

Proposed $6.5 Billion Settlement for Johnson & Johnson Talc Lawsuits

Johnson & Johnson has put forth a proposed settlement of $6.5 billion to resolve claims that its branded talc products, including baby powder, caused ovarian cancer. The pharmaceutical giant announced this figure on May 1, stating that the amount would be paid over a span of 25 years to settle the rapidly increasing number of ovarian cancer cases. According to the company, this proposed settlement offers a much better recovery than what claimants could expect from a trial.

Currently, Johnson & Johnson is facing tens of thousands of lawsuits from individuals who allege that their talc products contained traces of asbestos, which has been linked to ovarian cancer and mesothelioma. The company has repeatedly maintained that their talc-based baby powder does not contain asbestos and does not cause cancer. However, in 2020, the company made the decision to discontinue the sale of its baby powder in the United States and Canada due to what it deemed as “misinformation” about the product. Furthermore, they plan to phase out sales of these products worldwide by 2023.

To address the talc litigation, Johnson & Johnson has set aside around $11 billion. The proposed settlement aims to resolve 99.75 percent of the pending talc lawsuits against the company and its affiliates in the United States. Under this settlement, a three-month voting period will be initiated to reach a consensus on resolving all current and future ovarian cancer claims. If 75 percent of claimants vote in favor of the plan, the lawsuits will be resolved through a third bankruptcy filing of a subsidiary company called LLT Management. This bankruptcy filing would also prevent future lawsuits related to ovarian cancer claims and stop individuals from opting out of the deal to pursue separate legal action against the company.

Attorneys representing the majority of current ovarian claimants have expressed support for the proposed settlement. Erik Haas, the worldwide vice president of litigation at Johnson & Johnson, stated that this plan is the culmination of their consensual resolution strategy. However, the company’s previous attempts to resolve the lawsuits through bankruptcy filings were rejected by courts, as neither the company nor the subsidiary were deemed to be in financial distress.

The proposed settlement has received mixed reactions from attorneys representing cancer victims. Some believe that it will bring peace and closure to alleged victims, while others accuse the company of trying to manipulate the voting process by securing votes from lawyers who have not sued Johnson & Johnson. Despite the proposed settlement, the company maintains that the claims made against them are false and criticizes the ongoing litigation as an example of meritless lawsuits and distorted scientific literature.

In conclusion, Johnson & Johnson’s proposed $6.5 billion settlement for talc-related lawsuits aims to provide resolution to the increasing number of ovarian cancer claims. While the company denies any wrongdoing, the settlement offers a potential path to address the litigation and bring closure for claimants. The outcome of the voting period will determine whether this proposed settlement moves forward, potentially marking a significant development in this ongoing legal battle.

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