J&J proposing to pay $6.5B to resolve almost all talc ovarian cancer suits 

May 1, 2024

A subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson (J&J) is proposing to pay nearly $6.5 billion to resolve nearly all the talc ovarian cancer lawsuits brought against the company.

J&J said the subsidiary plans to pay about $6.475 billion over 25 years to settle most of the pending lawsuits alleging its branded baby powder containing talc caused ovarian cancer. The company said it would resolve 99.75 percent of the pending lawsuits brought against J&J and its affiliates over the allegations.

It also announced in 2022 that it would stop selling its talc-based baby powder in 2023 amid the ongoing legal battles over the product.

“The Plan is the culmination of our consensual resolution strategy that we announced last October,” said Erik Haas, J&J’s worldwide vice president of litigation. “Since then, the Company has worked with counsel representing the overwhelming majority of talc claimants to bring this litigation to a close, which we expect to do through this plan.”

The reorganization plan for J&J, announced Wednesday, slightly differs from previous proposals filed by its subsidiary, LLT Management. The company said the new strategy gives claimants a three-month solicitation period where they can vote for or against the new proposal.

If 75 percent of ovarian cancer claimants approve, J&J said the subsidiary “may file a consensual ‘prepackaged’ Chapter 11 bankruptcy to secure its confirmation.”

“Unlike the prior cases, it is the vote of the claimants — and not the conflicting financial incentives of the small minority of plaintiff lawyers who stand to receive excessive legal fees outside of a reorganization — that decides whether the Plan may proceed,” Haas said.

J&J said the remaining personal injury lawsuits are related to mesothelioma and will be addressed outside of the new proposal. The company also reiterated it stands behind its talc-based products.

“The talc claims asserted against the Company exemplify the egregious impact on U.S. businesses from meritless litigation and extreme judgments obtained by the plaintiffs’ bar through forum shopping, the distortion of scientific literature with junk science, and the unregulated and surreptitious financing of product litigation by financial institutions, including private equity and sovereign wealth funds,” Haas said.