J&J Seeks $8.9-Bn Settlement in Cosmetic Talc Litigation

Johnson & Johnson has announced that its subsidiary, LTL Management LLC, has re-filed for voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to obtain approval of a reorganization plan that will equitably and efficiently resolve all claims arising from litigation from cosmetic talc (i.e., baby powder products) against the company and its affiliates in North America. To that end, the company has agreed to contribute up to a present value of $8.9 billion, payable over 25 years, to resolve all current and future talc claims, which is an increase of $6.9 billion over the $2 billion previously committed in connection with LTL’s initial bankruptcy filing in October 2021. LTL also has secured commitments from over 60,000 current claimants to support a global resolution on these terms. 

The company emphasized that neither LTL’s original filing nor this re-filing is an admission of wrongdoing, nor an indication that the company has changed its longstanding position that its talcum powder products are safe. Johnson & Johnson and its other affiliates did not file for bankruptcy protection and will continue to operate their businesses as usual. 

“The Company continues to believe that these claims are specious and lack scientific merit,” said Erik Haas, Worldwide Vice President of Litigation, Johnson & Johnson,” in an April 4, 2023, company statement. “However, as the Bankruptcy Court recognized, resolving these cases in the tort system would take decades and impose significant costs on LTL and the system, with most claimants never receiving any compensation. Resolving this matter through the proposed reorganization plan is both more equitable and more efficient, allows claimants to be compensated in a timely manner, and enables the Company to remain focused on our commitment to profoundly and positively impact health for humanity.” 

J&J says that it has won the vast majority of cosmetic talc-related jury trials that have been litigated to date and reiterates that none of the talc-related claims against the company have merit. “The claims are premised on the allegation that cosmetic talc causes ovarian cancer and mesothelioma, a position that has been rejected by independent experts, as well as governmental and regulatory bodies, for decades,” said the company in its April 4, 2023, statement. “More than 40 years of studies by medical experts around the world continue to support the safety of cosmetic talc. Nonetheless, resolving this matter as quickly and efficiently as possible is in the best interests of the Company and all stakeholders.” 

Source: Johnson & Johnson