Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and other baby powder manufacturers are facing thousands of lawsuits with allegations that they knew their products could cause mesothelioma and ovarian cancer and did nothing to warn consumers. To date, juries have awarded billions of dollars to plaintiffs in these cases.
Reuters broke the news in 2018 that trace amounts of asbestos were found periodically from 1971 to 2003 in J&J’s talcum powder and raw talc. The article cited internal memos and other correspondence discussing that danger. In October 2019, J&J recalled one lot of its baby powder for asbestos contamination. In May 2020, they announced they would no longer sell the brand in the U.S. or Canada, due to diminished demand.
So far there have been four class action filings and thousands of individual lawsuits: more than 34,000 suits against J&J were consolidated in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. Along with J&J, lawsuits also name Vanderbilt Minerals, Colgate-Palmolive, Whittaker, Clark & Daniels, and Imerys Talc America. Implicated products include Johnson’s Baby Powder, Shower to Shower, Gold Bond No Mess Power Spray, Gold Bond Body Powder, Gold Bond Extra Strength Body Powder, and Cashmere Bouquet.
J&J got a ruling in its favor recently when a judge refused to prevent the company from forming a new business to absorb the liabilities of its talcum products, according to Reuters. The move, known as the “Texas Two-Step,” would create an entity that could later file for bankruptcy. As a result, plaintiffs could find themselves in bankruptcy proceedings with a smaller company. The judge noted that the move was a legitimate business transaction and allowed it.
In the meantime, rulings on talcum powder cases continue around the country. A terminally ill, 35-year-old San Jose woman was awarded $26.5 million by a California jury that ruled her mesothelioma diagnosis was caused by exposure to J&J talcum powder.
If you or a loved one believe you were adversely affected by talcum powder products, the best move is to talk to an attorney experienced catastrophic personal injury litigation. Please reach out to us. Our firm is recognized as a leader in litigating cases like these in Pennsylvania.