Johnson & Johnson face new class action over talc products

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Johnson & Johnson is confronted with a new class action lawsuit that demands damages and medical monitoring for women diagnosed with cancer or those at risk of developing it due to the use of the company’s talc-based products, including baby powder.

Filed on Monday in a New Jersey federal court, USA, this lawsuit uniquely requests medical monitoring to detect cancer early among talc users. This proposed class could potentially include thousands of women, excluding over 61,000 who have already filed personal injury claims against J&J, alleging the presence of asbestos in their talc.

Johnson & Johnson maintains that their talc products are safe, asbestos-free and non-carcinogenic. However, the law firms leading this lawsuit oppose J&J’s plan to settle most talc claims through a $6.48 billion pre-packaged bankruptcy deal. They are also pursuing another class action to block this proposal.



Approval from 75% of talc claimants is required for the bankruptcy plan, with voting ending on July 26. Erik Haas, J&J’s worldwide vice president of litigation, criticised the new lawsuit as “meritless,” claiming it aims to disrupt the bankruptcy proposal so plaintiffs’ lawyers can earn higher fees outside of bankruptcy. Conversely, opposing lawyers argue that the bankruptcy proposal fails to adequately compensate their clients.

Chris Tisi, one of the attorneys filing the new lawsuit, emphasised the necessity of medical monitoring, stating that the “insufficient funding” of the bankruptcy plan “fails to adequately address the needs of women who might develop ovarian cancer in the future due to past use of baby powder.”

Both the proposed settlement and the new class action revolve around claims that talc products caused ovarian and other gynecological cancers. A smaller subset of claims involves individuals who developed mesothelioma, with most of these cases already settled.

Johnson & Johnson has made two previous unsuccessful attempts to settle current and future talc claims through bankruptcy. This strategy, known as a Texas two-step, involves creating a subsidiary to take on the company’s talc liabilities, which then declares bankruptcy to handle the claims. The prior attempts failed as courts determined that the new subsidiary was not under sufficient “financial distress” to warrant bankruptcy.


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The ONA Editor curates oncology news, views and reviews from Australia and around the world for our readers. In aggregated content, original sources will be acknowledged in the article footer.

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