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Talc Lawyer: Johnson & Johnson Settlements Undermine Bankruptcy Strategy, Serve as Acknowledgment That Baby Powder Contained Asbestos
[November 17, 2023]

Talc Lawyer: Johnson & Johnson Settlements Undermine Bankruptcy Strategy, Serve as Acknowledgment That Baby Powder Contained Asbestos

One attorney leading the fight against Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) on behalf of 12,000 women and their families harmed or killed by the company's talcum powder products, says J&J's decision to settle two talcum powder trials in California undermines the company's claim that bankruptcy is the only way to resolve more than 50,000 lawsuits.

Andy Birchfield, head of the Mass Torts Section at the Beasley Allen Law Firm, says the settlements have profound implications.

"Perhaps this is an indication that J&J is abandoning its 'bankruptcy or bust' strategy in favor of good faith settlement discusions. J&J's twice-failed bankruptcy gambit has inflicted further harm to cancer victims who were long term baby powder users as well as had disastrous results for shareholders."

According to Mr. Birchfield, the settlements also demonstrate that J&J is acknowledging its talc products contain asbestos.

"Actions speak louder than words. In virtually all cases, mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos. In October 2019, an FDA lab analysis of a Johnson's Baby Powder sample revealed asbestos in the talc, leading to a voluntary recall of 33,000 bottles of Baby Powder. Subsequently, J&J discontinued sales of its talcum powder products. Not only does J&J's talc contain asbestos, but it also contains other harmful elements and chemicals that cause ovarian cancer in women. Science proves it and through its actions J&J is finally acknowledging its culpability," says Mr. Birchfield.

Parties in the two California trials, the first since the failed Chapter 11 bankruptcies of Johnson & Johnson subsidiary LTL Management, did not disclose the amounts of the settlements. Both trials were in Alameda County Superior Court.

Recently, Mr. Birchfield called for J&J to "rethink" its legal strategies while endorsing a Bloomberg Law News article, Time to Ditch the Texas Two-Step For a New Mass Tort Strategy, (subscription required) written by attorney Jim Conlan, CEO of Legal Liability Solutions.

Mr. Conlan pioneered what is called "structural optimization" of mass tort defendants, which seeks to appropriately transfer legal liabilities to "disaffiliated" entities and new owners with more than adequate funding to meet the legacy liabilities, including future claims.

Concludes Mr. Birchfield, "These developments underscore the importance of continued scrutiny and accountability in the pursuit of justice for those who may have been affected using talcum powder products. We remain steadfast in our commitment to representing the interests of ovarian cancer patients and pursuing fair resolutions in the ongoing litigation against Johnson & Johnson."

About the Beasley Allen Law Firm

Beasley Allen Law Firm, established in 1979, stands as a national leader in complex plaintiff litigation, working tirelessly to assist clients nationwide. Their attorneys are driven by the ethos of "helping those who need it most."

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