Johnson & Johnson Proposes $6.5 Billion Settlement for Talc Ovarian Cancer Lawsuits

Johnson & Johnson has announced its offer to pay $6.5 billion to settle claims alleging that its talc products caused cancer. This significant move by the pharmaceutical giant marks a pivotal step towards potentially resolving years of litigation surrounding one of the most widely used consumer products in the U.S.

The proposed settlement aims to bring an end to a lengthy legal battle stemming from thousands of lawsuits accusing J&J of marketing products allegedly linked to ovarian cancer in women, with some cases resulting in fatalities.

While J&J asserts the safety of its talc products, the company ceased the sale of talc-based items in 2020 and later announced plans to discontinue global sales of the product.

The proposed settlement is intended to resolve 99.75% of the pending talc lawsuits in the U.S., with legal actions not covered by the proposal addressing mesothelioma cases to be handled separately.

Erik Haas, worldwide vice president of litigation for J&J, described the proposal as the culmination of the company’s consensual resolution strategy. Haas emphasized the collaborative efforts with counsel representing the majority of talc claimants to bring closure to the litigation through this plan.

Johnson & Johnson presented its settlement offer as part of a bankruptcy reorganization plan for its subsidiary, LLT Management. Ovarian claimants are granted three months to vote for or against the plan.

While most law firms support the proposal, attorneys representing certain plaintiffs have rejected the settlement offer, alleging it would disadvantage victims legitimately harmed by talc.

Andy Birchfield, head of the Mass Torts Section at the Beasley Allen Law Firm, criticized the proposed settlement, stating that it could be deemed fraudulent and filed in bad faith under the Bankruptcy Code. Birchfield affirmed their commitment to advocating for clients who deserve better treatment and vowed to challenge the settlement tactic.

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