In a July 18th exclusive, Reuters News reported that Johnson & Johnson is considering a plan to offload all of its talcum baby powder liabilities into a newly created subsidiary it would put into bankruptcy, which could result in lower payouts and other hurdles for tens of thousands of plaintiffs suffering from ovarian cancer and mesothelioma.
According to Reuters, should J&J proceed, plaintiffs who have not settled could find themselves in protracted bankruptcy proceedings and future payouts to plaintiffs would be dependent on how J&J decides to fund the entity and result in victims and their families being paid pennies on the dollar for their claims. The article cited the plaintiffs’ lawyers, who view the bankruptcy strategy as one that skirts potentially expensive settlements or judgments.
In a 2018 Reuters investigation, the outlet reported that J & J spent decades hiding that asbestos, a known carcinogen, lurked in its baby powder and other talc-based cosmetic products. In May 2020, the company ended all sales of its baby powder in the U.S. and Canada, citing “misinformation” and “unfounded allegations” by consumers.
The $443 billion company is facing legal action from nearly 30,000 victims and their families claiming its talc products were dangerous. In June 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear J&J’s appeal of a Missouri court ruling that awarded $2.1 billion to women who claimed that that the company’s talc products caused their ovarian cancer.
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