J&J Offers to Pay $6.475B to Settle Ovarian Cancer Lawsuits

Legislation & Litigation

Johnson and Johnson’s subsidiary LLT Management LLC has agreed to pay $6.475 billion to settle current and future claims that its talc-based products caused ovarian cancer. This is an attempt to try and resolve nearly 54,000 talc cases still awaiting trial against the company. 

J&J says the proposition would settle 99.75% of the remaining talc lawsuits it faces in the U.S. However, the proposal won’t settle any remaining mesothelioma lawsuits. The company says it plans to address them separately and has already resolved 95% of its mesothelioma cases. 

Claimants now have 3 months to vote on the plan. If accepted, the settlement money will be paid over the course of 25 years. The cases include personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits.

Plaintiffs claim talc in the company’s products was contaminated with asbestos, causing ovarian cancer. J&J maintains its products are safe, but stopped selling talc-based products in the U.S. in 2020 and globally in 2022. Cornstarch replaced talc in its products.

“The Plan is the culmination of our consensual resolution strategy that we announced last October,” Erik Haas, worldwide vice president of litigation for J&J, said in a statement. “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.”

J&J’s Connection to Asbestos

Court documents show J&J knew of asbestos contamination occurring in its talc-based products as early as the 1950s. Internal company reports discussed concealing concerns over asbestos contamination at talc mines in Vermont and Italy. 

By 2018, the company was paying out multimillion-dollar verdicts over asbestos exposure from talcum powder. In total, J&J has spent approximately $1 billion on its legal defense in talc cases.

Because talc and asbestos are both naturally occurring minerals found close together within the earth, talc can become contaminated. Asbestos is the primary cause of mesothelioma. Exposure can also cause ovarian cancer and other asbestos-related diseases.

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