Johnson & Johnson Settlement Continues a String of Wins for Patients and Consumers

The Johnson & Johnson (J&J) asbestos liability saga continues. In January 2024, the company reached a tentative $700 million settlement with several states. The states claim the company misled customers about the safety of its talcum powder products.

This settlement is the latest win in the ongoing fight to hold J&J accountable. The company has spent the last several years working aggressively to avoid liability. It continues to maintain its talc products were safe, despite evidence it knew they were not.

This settlement may signal that J&J’s avoidance strategy has run its course.

Johnson & Johnson Settles With States for $700 Million

In January 2024, J&J settled with over 40 states investigating the company’s marketing of talc-based baby powder. The investigations focused on whether the company misled consumers by not warning about the potential risk of asbestos contamination in its product. The settlement would effectively end the investigations.

The tentative settlement is for $700 million, more than the $400 million J&J initially said it would set aside to resolve the investigations.

The states sued J&J using their consumer protection laws. These are separate actions from personal injury lawsuits and do not affect the legal rights of individual asbestos victims.

State Consumer Protection vs. Individual Personal Injury

Consumer Protection

A state may sue a company to enforce its own consumer protection laws. This type of lawsuit aims to help safeguard consumers from fraudulent business practices.

Personal Injury

An individual may sue a company to hold it accountable for injuries it caused. This type of lawsuit aims to provide compensation to an individual for personal economic and other losses.

Johnson & Johnson Loses Second Bid for Bankruptcy

The settlement with the states comes after J&J lost two bids for bankruptcy. The company designed its bankruptcy plans to limit its liability for exposing people to asbestos-contaminated talc.

The court rejected J&J’s bankruptcy petition for the same reason both times. The company is not in enough financial trouble to warrant bankruptcy. In 2024, the company ranks as the top U.S. pharmaceutical company based on total revenue. In January, it posted a net worth of almost $390 billion.

Despite this, some people involved believe J&J will attempt a third bankruptcy filing.

The J&J bankruptcy saga has taken many twists and turns. You can read about the various developments in the story in the posts below.

Lawsuits Against Johnson & Johnson Start Up Again

J&J’s first bankruptcy filing, in 2021, paused nearly all of the asbestos lawsuits and other personal injury lawsuits against it. Currently, over 50,000 talc cases are pending against the company. But as their bankruptcy attempts failed, lawsuits filed by asbestos victims have started up again.

In its first post-bankruptcy personal injury lawsuit, a California jury awarded $18.8 million to a mesothelioma patient. The victim in the case is a 24-year-old who developed the disease after exposure to the company’s talc-based baby powder.

Several other lawsuits are scheduled to begin and possibly resolve in 2024. Their outcomes may encourage J&J to settle with victims for more than they would have had to under their proposed bankruptcy plans.

Johnson & Johnson Found Liable for $45 Million in Mesothelioma Lawsuit

In April 2024, J&J lost another post-bankruptcy lawsuit. An Illinois jury awarded $45 million to the family of a mesothelioma patient who had frequently used J&J’s talcum powder. The patient died in 2020.

This verdict is just the latest loss for the company. It is a hopeful sign that the initiative of holding J&J accountable is back on track.

Johnson & Johnson Offers $6.5 Billion to Settle Ovarian Cancer Lawsuits

In May 2024, J&J offered $6.5 billion to settle ovarian cancer lawsuits against it. Patients and their families claim exposure to asbestos-contaminated talc caused ovarian cancer.

The offer signals that J&J may have concluded bankruptcy is no longer a viable option for them. Victims must still approve the settlement offer, though. If they reject it, the ovarian cancer lawsuits will likely continue toward trial.