Court Rejects Johnson & Johnson’s Bankruptcy Attempt To Deny Paying Lawsuits
Talcum powder is a common ingredient used in a wide variety of products, including body and baby powders, cosmetics, and soaps. Made from the mineral talc, scientists and industry leaders have long known of the connection between products containing contaminated talcum powder and certain cancers. The threat does not come from the talc itself but rather from contamination with other dangerous substances, such as asbestos.
Companies that continued to manufacture products using contaminated talcum powder despite knowing the risks to consumers can (and should) be held legally liable for the vast amount of harm they have caused. Not every large company is willing to face the consequences of its actions, though.
Johnson & Johnson (J&J), a well-known manufacturer of talcum-based baby powder, attempted to sidestep its legal responsibility by filing for a “Texas two-step” bankruptcy. This filing was recently blocked by the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia. This decision is good news for those attempting to seek justice for harm caused by J&J’s products.
Johnson & Johnson’s Attempt To Avoid Legal Liability
A Texas two-step bankruptcy is a legal strategy utilized by companies that are attempting to avoid mass tort liability. It involves creating a subsidiary of the company used to absorb tort liabilities. After its creation, the subsidiary immediately files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
J&J’s two-step bankruptcy was made in an attempt to halt the more than 38,000 lawsuits it’s facing for the alleged link between its talc-based products and cancer. Prior to filing, it faced approximately $3.5 billion in settlements and awards.
The court rejected the bankruptcy filing, citing J&J’s subsidiaries’ lack of financial distress.
The Link Between Talcum, Baby Powder, and Cancer
J&J has continually insisted that its products are safe to use and free from harm. However, there is clear evidence that improperly mined or processed talc can pose a safety risk to consumers. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), care must be taken when selecting talc mining sites, as talc and asbestos are frequently found to naturally occur in close proximity.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) classifies asbestos as a known human carcinogen. Exposure to asbestos in multiple forms is known to cause cancer, including mesothelioma, ovarian cancer, and lung cancer.
Talcum powder is a common ingredient in cosmetics because of its effectiveness at absorbing moisture and preventing caking. Talcum-based cosmetic products that have been contaminated with asbestos have been identified as a main cause of mesothelioma among women. Talcum-based cosmetics is a category that includes a wide range of personal use items, including:
- Baby powder
- Body powder
- Facial powder
- Eye shadows
Frost Law Firm, PC Knows Your Recovery Options
If you were recently diagnosed with cancer after regularly using J&J products or other talcum-based products or cosmetics, you may be feeling lost and unsure of what to do next. Questions like, “How did this happen?” and “What will happen to my family?” have no easy answers.
At Frost Law Firm, PC, we understand just how impossible this type of situation can feel. While we know that we cannot reverse the harm that you or a loved one has already suffered, what we can do is provide vigorous legal representation to help you secure a sense of justice and the compensation that you are rightfully owed.
We are proud to provide many of our services on a contingency fee basis, and we also provide no-cost consultations to those who have been harmed by another person’s or entity’s negligence. For an opportunity to speak one-on-one with a compassionate attorney, please call our office or fill out our convenient online form.