Proposed Class Action Filed by Six Law Firms Alleging Series of Fraudulent Transfers by Johnson & Johnson in Talc Litigation

Beasley Allen Attorney: Women are saying ‘enough is enough’

TRENTON, N.J. – Women who previously filed lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson for damages caused by its defective talc products have filed a class action lawsuit in U.S. District Court in New Jersey accusing J&J of engaging in a series of fraudulent maneuvers designed to prevent cancer victims and their families from receiving fair compensation for their health-related claims.

The lawsuit alleges three specific mileposts in Johnson & Johnson’s fraudulent strategy:

  • The creation in 2021 of a subsidiary known as LTL Management through what is commonly referred to as a divisive merger or “Texas Two-Step” to assume all talc-related liabilities. LTL then sought bankruptcy protection. Twice, that legal strategy failed.
  • The transfer of corporate assets from an existing consumer health division into a new entity known as Kenvue. This spinoff formed in 2022 sought to create an additional, unlawful shield for J&J assets from litigation liability. In a recent case involving Johnson & Johnson talc- and mesothelioma-related claims, a jury in Chicago held Kenvue liable, among others.
  • After the failure of the first LTL bankruptcy attempt, J&J replaced the previous $61.5 billion funding agreement with one capped at $29.9 billion, a transaction done without LTL receiving equivalent value in return.

According to the lawsuit, these fraudulent steps to use the bankruptcy courts to limit liability for talc claims resulted in delays of scheduled trials or other forms of resolution to the class for more than two years. The company has since announced its intent to pursue a “pre-packaged” bankruptcy in a third attempt to reduce liabilities.

The plaintiffs in the proposed class are represented by attorneys with the law firms of Ashcraft Gerel, Bailey Glasser, Beasley Allen, Burns Charest, Golomb Legal, and Levin Papantonio Rafferty.

“Johnson & Johnson is playing a dark game of chess with this country’s financial and judicial systems. With a net worth of nearly $400 billion, this corporation has deliberately manipulated assets to sidestep its obligations to ovarian cancer victims and in so doing has robbed them of true and rightful justice,” says Mike Papantonio of Pensacola, Florida-based Levin Papantonio Rafferty.

“The bad faith that the courts found in ruling against J&J in the two previous bankruptcies applies to every action the company has taken during the past three years,” says Andy Birchfield of Alabama-based Beasley Allen. “The individuals bringing this class action are shining a bright light on the entire series of dubious, unlawful and hypocritical ploys J&J has been following, and they’re saying enough is enough.”

Reliable and consistent scientific studies show that regular exposure to talc results in a 30% to 60% increased risk of ovarian cancer. Despite corporate denials, it’s been shown that J&J’s talc also contains asbestos. Asbestos causes mesothelioma and ovarian cancer, both of which are often fatal. Evidence presented in litigation against Johnson & Johnson reveals that the company was aware that its product contained asbestos and continued to sell it for another 50 years.

Last week, researchers from the National Institutes of Health published a study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology which found a significant and positive association between genital talc use and ovarian cancer, with the highest risks observed in frequent and long-term users. The study involved more than 50,000 women from the Sister Study cohort study which examined the genetic predisposition to hormone-related cancers.

“As the scientific record grows even stronger, J&J’s repeated denials of the dangers of genital talc use, attempts to shirk the company’s responsibility to cancer victims and abuse of the bankruptcy system become even more egregious and tragic,” says Michelle Parfitt of Ashcraft Gerel.

The defendants in the proposed class action include both J&J corporate entities and individual executives, including J&J Chief Executive Officer Joaquin Duato and Kenvue Chief Executive Officer Thibaut Mongon.

The case is Murphy et al. v. LTL Management Inc. et al., Case No. 3:24-cv-06320 filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Media Contact:
Mike Androvett

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