Plaintiffs settle ovarian cancer claims with product giant J&J.
The harm that was caused by talc products sold by Johnson & Johnson (specifically, its cancer-causing properties), doesn’t really need any introduction. These stories have made major headlines, and for good reason – as tragic as those reasons may be. Countless women allege that the usage of Johnson & Johnson (J&J) talc products has led them to develop ovarian cancer. Johnson & Johnson denies these allegations and claims that the products are safe.
Previously, Johnson & Johnson made an attempt to move their liabilities for talc products into bankruptcy. That attempt was denied by the court, and in the aftermath, J&J has started to make settlements on suits that were previously filed. This could mark a turning point for the company and how it decides to deal with the tens of thousands of suits that have piled up against it.
At the heart of the matter is the allegation that the talc used by J&J is contaminated with cancer-causing properties asbestos. Of course, asbestos is an extremely dangerous group of minerals with the ability to significantly harm human health. Mesothelioma is a common form of cancer that can be caused by exposure to asbestos, but that’s just one of a variety of health risks that can arise.
The two settlements were in the cases that had been filed by Marlin Eagles and Rosalino Reyes. One of those trials was already underway while the other was to begin shortly. No details were released about specifics of the settlements that were reached between the parties. While this action does not assure that all lawsuits in this matter will result in the same outcome, it does seem likely that more settlements are soon to follow. J&J will likely be analyzing the cases individually and deciding which ones are worthy of a settlement and which ones will be worth fighting out in court.
In response to these many thousands of lawsuits, J&J has stopped selling products that feature cancer-causing talc. They are instead using products that are based on cornstarch to achieve a similar affect without the risk of asbestos contamination. Of course, the company is still arguing that the talc was safe, despite the fact that they willingly opted to change their products in the aftermath of all of this legal action.
So far, among the lawsuits that have gone all the way to trial, the results have been mixed. Some plaintiffs have secured notable wins against the company, but at the same time, one big verdict for more than $200 million was overturned when it went to an appeals court in New Jersey.
A company the size of Johnson & Johnson, with its considerable financial resources, is always going to have a big advantage in court when fighting against smaller opponents. With that said, the sheer volume of suits that have been filed seem to have forced their hand to start to agree to settlements as opposed to going through costly trials and potentially losing expensive judgements.