Apr 4, 2023 - Economy

J&J offers $8.9 billion to settle talc cancer claims

A baby powder bottle sitting on its side

Johnson & Johnson baby powder. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson said Tuesday it's offering up to $8.9 billion to resolve lawsuits accusing the company of selling baby powder that caused cancer — an allegation that J&J has repeatedly denied.

Why it matters: J&J faces tens of thousands of lawsuits from people and their survivors related to the company's talc-based powder.

Driving the news: J&J disclosed the offer Tuesday in connection with its decision to re-file its subsidiary LTL Management in Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

  • The Third Circuit Court of Appeals in January dismissed the original Chapter 11 petition made by LTL, the subsidiary J&J created for the purpose of housing its talc liabilities and filing for bankruptcy.

Details: The $8.9 billion in payments to alleged victims would be paid over 25 years "to resolve all the current and future talc claims," J&J said in a statement.

  • The company, which originally offered $2 billion, said it "has secured commitments from over 60,000 current claimants" to support the deal.
  • J&J noted that it is not admitting wrongdoing — but fighting the cases "would take decades and impose significant costs" with "most claimants never receiving any compensation," said J&J's worldwide vice president of litigation, Erik Haas.

What they're saying: Law firms representing what they described as a majority of the victims released a statement saying their clients are supporting the proposed deal.

  • "This settlement will provide expeditious, substantial and fair compensation to claimants who cannot afford to wait any longer for a resolution," the victims' representatives said Tuesday in a statement.

How it works: "All talc claimants will be able to have their claims evaluated and assessed within one year" of a federal judge's approval of the settlement, "ensuring a swift and efficient resolution for victims of the company’s misconduct," the victims' representatives said.

  • “This settlement is a testament to the tens of thousands of women who have battled both cancer and the court system to achieve justice for themselves,” Watts Guerra attorney Alicia O’Neill said in a statement. “These strong women have ensured that no other woman will be exposed to this unnecessary danger. They deserve compensation and closure.”
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