A Prominent US Senator Promises To Close The Texas Two-Step Bankruptcy Loophole
Johnson & Johnson's bankruptcy scheme could force US lawmakers to tighten bankruptcy laws and close loopholes.
Friday, March 11, 2022 - Judge Michael Kaplan told reporters that he expects that plaintiffs and their attorneys, legal scholars, and others will be sufficiently outraged by his decision to allow Johnson & johnson's Texas Two-Strep talcum powder bankruptcy scheme to go forward, putting thousands of talcum powder cancer lawsuits on hold. The judge, however, may have underestimated their anger. They think the Judge and Johnson & johnson have made a mockery of the bankruptcy system. Critics of the bankruptcy allege that the ruling opens the door to any company who has committed product liability or wrongful death crimes to skirt the law and essential be absolved of wrongdoing. Senator Richard Dick Durban vows to introduce legislation to close this bankruptcy loophole before others can use it against consumer safety. Durban told NPR, "We need to close this loophole for good," Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said earlier this month. "Bankruptcy is supposed to be a good-faith way to accept responsibility, pay one's debts as best you can, and then receive a second chance, not a Texas two-step, get-0ut-of-jail-free card for some of the wealthiest corporations on earth like Johnson & Johnson." Women with ovarian cancer continue to come forward to contact talcum powder cancer lawyers and file a claim.
Johnson & Johnson is not alone in seeking to sidestep responsibility for their alleged wrongdoing. Other bankruptcy schemes are being tried by Purdue Pharma, Boy Scouts of America, USA Gymnastics, and others according to Senator Elizabeth Warren. Senator Durban said that companies like Johnson & Johnson trying to rig the system in their favor. Senator Blumenthal weighed in on efforts to eliminate bankruptcy loopholes. "Current bankruptcy law is unjust and unacceptable. Bankruptcy should not be a safe harbor from accountability, but that's how the law works now."
Kaplan's decision seems controversial when taken at face value, but may make sense in the broader scheme of things. The Judge thinks that the 40,000 or so ovarian cancer plaintiffs could receive a monetary settlement more quickly through the bankruptcy court than if they each had to take their turn in court. In addition, more than half of the lawsuits that have been decided so far have gone in favor of Johnson & Johnson. Some think that the bankruptcy judge could force Johnson & johnson to include their worldwide talcum powder business and other baby powder lines, and force them to be liquidated to pay the ovarian cancer plaintiffs. Bankruptcy has been used extensively to liquidate an entire company, limiting personal liability to only the stockholders and creditors, but only now have companies spun off segments of their business. Johnson & Johnson continues to deny that their talcum powder is dangerous to anyone's health when used as directed. Company spokespersons say that the iconic brand of baby care is safe, pure, and asbestos-free and that discontinuing selling it in North America was a business decision based on a lack of demand caused by media disinformation.