Key Talc Lawyers: Planned “Prepack” J&J Bankruptcy is “Farce” and Improper Litigation Tactic

Say that recent meso settlements confirm J&J’s culpability and financial obligation to thousands of women who got cancer from talc

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Attorneys representing ovarian cancer victims who are suing Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) warn that J&J’s declared bankruptcy strategy to end talc litigation will not succeed as some of the nation’s most accomplished trial lawyers gear up for a series of jury trials in 2024.

Attorneys Andy Birchfield, Jason Itkin and Mike Papantonio, who represent thousands of ovarian cancer plaintiffs, say recent limited settlements touted by the company confirm that its talc products contain cancer-causing asbestos despite its protestations to the contrary. Recent media reports indicate that J&J has abandoned litigation to settle cases with law firms representing approximately 100 victims of mesothelioma who were exposed to talc.

“J&J can’t buy talc litigation peace until it’s willing to provide fair compensation to ovarian cancer victims, and mesothelioma victims,” says Mr. Birchfield, head of the mass torts section at the Beasley Allen Law Firm, highlighting the need for a comprehensive and equitable resolution. “Asbestos causes mesothelioma AND ovarian cancer. The science is clear.”

Scientific consensus is unequivocal that asbestos exposure from J&J’s products causes both mesothelioma and ovarian cancer. J&J’s prior failed bankruptcy strategy, attorneys say, not only harmed cancer victims and their families but also adversely impacted shareholders. Two different federal courts rejected separate bankruptcy filings of a J&J subsidiary, LTL Management, finding that they were filed in bad faith.

“We will continue to hold the company’s feet to the fire,” Birchfield said. “Next year, we plan a series of trials before juries across the country. J&J is in the habit of misinforming investors that it wins most talc cases but conveniently neglects to mention that in just one case, it paid more than two billion dollars after a jury verdict.”

Mike Papantonio of Levin Papantonio Rafferty, a stalwart of civil justice and the leader of some of the largest mass torts in history, adds, “J&J should recognize that a narrow approach will not suffice. Instead of pursuing bankruptcy, they should get serious and prepare to defend their egregious conduct in court.  It’s about delivering justice to everyone affected, whether by mesothelioma or ovarian cancer.”

In response to the ongoing legal battle involving Johnson & Johnson’s talc products, Jason Itkin at the law firm Arnold & Itkin expressed his opposition to J&J’s bankruptcy strategy, stating, “J&J improperly sought to use bankruptcy as a weapon to delay and diminish my clients’ rights. “I look forward to exposing J&J’s conduct and getting full justice for these cancer victims by trying their cases to judges and juries across the country.”

Mr. Birchfield recently elaborated on his views in a Bloomberg News article, A Third J&J Bankruptcy Attempt Will Not Resolve Talc Victims’ Claims, in which he anticipated J&J’s acknowledgment, at a recent investors conference, that two failed bankruptcy filings were a litigation tactic that saved the company from having to pay more expensive trial-related costs while the litigation was on hold.

Concludes Mr. Birchfield, “The law says that bankruptcy can’t be used as a tactic in litigation to wear down plaintiffs and drive down the value of claims. J&J may try this a dozen times but it still won’t work and most victims and their lawyers see through the deception and abuse. We’re steadfast in our commitment to representing the interests of ovarian cancer patients and pursuing fair resolutions in the ongoing litigation against Johnson & Johnson.”

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Mike Androvett

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