Talc MDL Leadership Rejects J&J’s Second Attempt to Abuse Bankruptcy Process

TRENTON, N.J. – This week, Johnson & Johnson announced what the company says is a resolution of tens of thousands of talc ovarian cancer and mesothelioma claims.

The following statement is a reaction from attorneys Leigh O’Dell of the Beasley Allen Law Firm and Michelle Parfitt of Ashcraft & Gerel, co-chairs of the plaintiffs’ steering committee in the federal court multidistrict litigation of these cases:

J&J’s arrogance is boundless, and its mockery of the court system demonstrates a callous, bullying mindset. There are no tactics too underhanded for the company to use to try to avoid paying reasonable compensation to these cancer victims.

The talc “settlement” being touted by J&J and the media is NOT a settlement. It is an illusory proposal for a bankruptcy plan, yet another attempt by J&J to misuse the bankruptcy system. All 14 members of the plaintiffs’ steering committee reject this proposal.

In fact, the terms are considerably worse than a proposal that we and other firms representing ovarian cancer victims rejected last June, at a time when it appeared that all plaintiffs could be stuck in bankruptcy court for years. Since then, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals set aside J&J’s bankruptcy and our negotiating position significantly improved. The settlement that J&J is now trying to impose on plaintiffs, with the aid of a small number of firms handling talc cases, includes:

  • all current and future ovarian cancer victims
  • all current and future mesothelioma victims
  • all attorney general actions for all states, and
  • all other talc-related claims, including claims by medical cost insurers against J&J. 

While J&J’s proposed $8.9 billion offer sounds like a lot of money, it is not enough when you consider the terms of the proposal. This settlement proposal would pay far less than $120,000 per case, if that. The costs of medical care and lost wages alone for ovarian cancer victims approach $500,000. That does not address the pain and suffering nor punitive damages those women and their families have suffered by J&J’s massive and deliberate cover-up of the dangers of its asbestos-laden talc products.

Rest assured, we are vigorously opposing this deal and will continue fighting to get fair compensation for clients. And through a remarkable team effort, we are confident that this ploy by J&J to unfairly force a bad deal will be rebuffed, and we will be able to negotiate a fair one for clients. Alternatively, we will get this second bankruptcy thrown out, just as we did the first, so that we can present clients’ cases before juries again soon.

Media Contact:

Mark Annick



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