Johnson & Johnson Thinks Bankruptcy Offers The Only Rational Solution To Fulfill Thousands Of Talcum Powder Cancer Claims
Now that Johnson & Johnson has failed for a second time to protect its $400 billion of assets from legal liability by filing bankruptcy, trials should be able to proceed
Tuesday, October 31, 2023 - 18 jury trials will be scheduled to take place in 2024 unless Johnson & Johnson is successful in its third attempt at bankruptcy and delays the individual cases. Johnson & Johnson (J&J) agrees and is reportedly considering a third bankruptcy attempt to address lawsuits alleging their talc-based baby powder causes ovarian cancer and mesothelioma. Earlier efforts to establish a trust for claimants through bankruptcy were unsuccessful. The first attempt was allowed by a New Jersey Bankruptcy Court judge who saw it as the quickest way to compensate over 90,000 claimants. J&J had successfully defended many talcum powder cancer trials. In the past, they settled one case with 1000 plaintiffs for $100 million leading plaintiff attorneys to now push for trials that contain multiple plaintiffs. Despite their financial stability, J&J is now exploring a monetary solution through bankruptcy with law firms representing most talc cancer victims while continuing to defend themselves in trials. Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows them to create trusts determining compensation, bypassing jury decisions. According to Fortune.com, " J&J says the only rational way to come up with a global talc resolution is to use the bankruptcy courts, so they can address future cancer claims tied to its baby powder. Chapter 11 rules allow corporations to fund trusts that decide how much claimants get, instead of allowing juries to decide damages. Many talc claimants oppose allowing a trustee to set awards and want to take their cases to court."
J & J is currently facing at least 51,000 ovarian cancer lawsuits related to talc and cancer, with more expected. Some experts continue to believe that bankruptcy is the best option to fairly compensate more than 50,000 ovarian cancer victims that allege using Johnson's Baby Powder on the peritoneal region of the body, regularly and for many years, led them to develop ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer is a deadly disease as the symptoms mask themselves as ordinary menstrual discomfort. Failing to diagnose ovarian cancer early allows the disease to spread to other organs and makes it more difficult to treat. Less than 5% of ovarian cancer victims live longer than five years after diagnosis making receiving a rapid settlement paramount. Plaintiff attorneys representing the majority of talcum powder ovarian cancer victims continue to reject the company's bankruptcy schemes and look forward to their clients receiving their day in court. " Andy Birchfield, an Alabama-based lawyer representing thousands of talc victims, said the return to the regular court system will allow ex-baby powder users to exercise their constitutional rights to a fair trial. "Now, the poster child for corporate arrogance and misconduct will face real pressure of accountability in thousands of cases one trial at a time," he said in an emailed statement," Fortune.com reported. Johnson & Johnson has a plan to poll talc plaintiffs to gauge support for a settlement. Even if the third bankruptcy attempt succeeds, J&J would need approval from at least 75% of claimants. Legal representatives for victims opposing the settlement express confidence in thwarting J&J's bankruptcy plan.