Settlements Reached in Talcum Powder Lawsuits Brought By Two Men Diagnosed with Mesothelioma
Johnson & Johnson has reached settlements in at least two talcum powder lawsuits, marking the first agreements to resolve individual claims since the company attempted to force all litigation over failing to warn about the cancer risks associated with its products through the U.S. bankruptcy system.
The manufacturer faces more than 70,000 Baby Powder lawsuits and Shower-to-Shower lawsuits, each involving similar claims that asbestos particles in the talc-based products caused users to develop mesothelioma, ovarian cancer and other injuries.
For more than two years, former users were prevented from filing new lawsuits or presenting existing claims to juries, after Johnson & Johnson attempted to initiate a controversial talcum powder bankruptcy scheme in 2021, by transferring all liability it faced to a new subsidiary that was immediately placed into bankruptcy. However, after multiple appeals and repeated filings, a U.S. bankruptcy judge dismissed the filing in August 2023, clearing the way for active talcum powder litigation to resume and trials to resume.
Given similar questions of fact and law raised in complaints filed throughout the federal court system, coordinated pretrial proceedings were established for the talcum powder litigation in 2016, centralizing the cases before U.S. District Judge Freda Wolfson in the District of New Jersey. However, since Judge Wolfson retired during the lengthy bankruptcy stay, management of the litigation was transferred to U.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp.
As Judge Shipp prepares a group of talcum powder lawsuits for early bellwether test cases, a Reuters report published on November 16 indicates Johnson & Johnson has reached settlements in two mesothelioma injury claims brought by Rosalino Reyes and Marlin Eagles. The report indicates the two cases were being handled by the same law firm, which is set to settle all talcum powder claims it represents.
Reyes’ case first went to trial in California state court in 2020, but was declared a mistrial when Reyes died of mesothelioma during the trial. Reyes’ trial had recommenced last week, and the jury had just been chosen for Eagle’s trial when the settlement was announced.
No details about the settlement agreement, or how many cases may eventually be settled as part of the deal, have been released.
November 2023 Talcum Powder Lawsuit Update
After Johnson & Johnson’s first two bankruptcy attempts were rejected, Judge Shipp expressed his intentions to move the talcum powder cancer cases forward quickly in September, and released a pretrial schedule last month that put the six bellwether cases back on track to go before juries.
While the outcome of these individual trials will not affect other cases, the verdicts are likely to have significant influence on the value of any talcum powder cancer settlement Johnson & Johnson may be required to pay to avoid the need for tens of thousands of cases to be remanded back to federal courts nationwide for trial in the coming years.
However, in an earnings call to investors last month, the lead attorney overseeing talcum powder litigation for Johnson & Johnson indicated the company hopes to file for a third bankruptcy in Texas, as part of a consensual resolution and settlement agreement.
This time, the company claims it plans to file in the federal bankruptcy court in Texas. The leniency of the Texas courts toward companies trying to file for bankruptcy, to avoid expensive tort litigation that they could easily afford, is why the tactic became known as the “Texas Two-Step.”
Johnson & Johnson’s previous attempts were shot down by federal judges in both federal and federal appeals courts, indicating that the bankruptcies had not been filed in “good faith”, and that its subsidiary, LTL Management, created solely for talcum powder liability purposes, was in no immediate financial danger from the talcum powder lawsuits.
PamelaNovember 26, 2023 at 12:11 am
Won't judge to it out and then another judge to without there will be a thrown out. Why are they wasting all this time? And money fighting it when they messages resolve ithat pays the victims and and then it's overweight, no more filing. The deadline. But I know they paid a lot out through the years. But they made the mistake and they didn't fix it. They had to be forced to fix it. So now it jus[Show More]Won't judge to it out and then another judge to without there will be a thrown out. Why are they wasting all this time? And money fighting it when they messages resolve ithat pays the victims and and then it's overweight, no more filing. The deadline. But I know they paid a lot out through the years. But they made the mistake and they didn't fix it. They had to be forced to fix it. So now it just do the right thing, but. Put a deadline on it no more filing but you gotta pay the Victims, I'm one of them.
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