Talks Underway To Open Several Talcum Powder Cancer Trials Outside of Bankruptcy Restrictions
The judge cited that enough is enough and that trials may be the best way to get the two parties to come together and reach a settlement
Friday, June 17, 2022 - New Jersey bankruptcy judge Michael Kaplan's decision to allow the Johnson & Johnson talc spin-off company to declare bankruptcy is under appeal and causing an unforeseen delay in settling talcum powder ovarian cancer claims. There are about 38-40,000 talcum powder lawsuits on hold, organized into multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the United States District Court in New Jersey, overseen by Judge Freda Wolfson. Judge Kaplan is considering allowing several of the cases to go forward to trial outside of bankruptcy immediately and is in talks with Judge Wolfson to finalize the decision. Judge Kaplan's decision about reopening the cases is seen as an attempt to bring more clarity to whether or not the plaintiffs' allegations of using Johnson's Baby Powder for feminine hygiene and developing ovarian cancer hold water. Judge Kaplan has said that he is disappointed in the delay in the bankruptcy appeal he sought to expedite. Many plaintiffs with ovarian cancer have a limited time to live because of the deadly nature of the disease and would like to see their case settled. Others insist on getting their Constitutionally guaranteed day in court having seen lottery-like lump sums granted to plaintiffs in the past.
Johnson & Johnson is against taking the cases to trials as they have only a 50-50 track record of success. They are seen to be trying to delay reopening any of the cases or offering a viable settlement by forcing a full accounting of all of the 40,000 plaintiffs. According to Reuters LTL management, the J&J talc liability spin-off company, wants the bankruptcy court to estimate the number and value of talc claims, a procedure which could take considerable time. The company claims that such an accounting is necessary to accurately estimate the amount of a settlement they may offer. LTL management was funded with cash of $2 billion, only a small fraction of the billions that the company could be forced to pay should they be forced to go to trial. Jury verdicts and punitive damage awards in talcum powder bellwether trials will give an indication of how others juries may react to the evidence against Johnson & Johnson. Talcum powder cancer lawyers are hopeful that several of the cases can be reopened and look forward to presenting the scientific evidence that Johnson's Baby Powder contained asbestos, a well-established deadly carcinogen. Experts for the plaintiffs include Georgia-based microscope expert Dr. William Longo. Dr. Longo has tested Johnson's Baby Powder and found it to contain asbestos, as has the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Dr. Longo has also testified under oath before Congressional lawmakers on the subject of his method of testing talc for asbestos. Dr. Longo uses the heavy liquid separation method to prepare samples to be tested with polarized light microscopy (PLM) and Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM). The chairman of the Congressional subcommittee told members, "There is evidence that, for decades, tests have repeatedly found that Johnson & Johnson's talc-based baby powder contained asbestos. More sensitive testing methods than those used by Johnson & Johnson have detected asbestos in talc. In fact, in an internal Johnson & Johnson memo from 1975, employees discussing--discuss suppressing the use of sensitive asbestos-detection methods stating, and I quote, we want to avoid promotion of this approach."