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Johnson & Johnson Talc Powder Litigation Update



On July 18, 2023, an Oakland jury ruled that Johnson & Johnson (J&J) must pay $18.8 million to Emory Hernandez Valadez. The 24-year-old plaintiff claims that he developed a rare type of mesothelioma cancer due to asbestos contamination in J&J's talc-based baby powder. This verdict represents an important development in J&J's ongoing legal challenges concerning its talc products and is the first case that J&J has faced at trial in nearly two years.


The case of Mr. Hernandez is one of thousands alleging that J&J's talc-based products, such as baby powder, may have previously been contaminated with asbestos, leading to ovarian cancer and mesothelioma. Plaintiffs argue that they would have avoided J&J's talc if warned about potential contamination.


J&J vigorously defends the safety of its products, denying any contamination with asbestos or link to cancer. According to recent statements from J&J, this position is supported by "decades of independent scientific evaluations." Yet, tens of thousands of plaintiffs have sued, contributing to legal expenses and settlements reported to be approximately $4.5 billion.


In 2021, Johnson & Johnson attempted to seek bankruptcy protection by transferring its talc-related liabilities into a newly established company, LTL Management, and then filing for bankruptcy on behalf of that company. This effort was thwarted in April when a U.S. appeals court determined that LTL was not in a financial situation dire enough to warrant bankruptcy protection.


Apparently undeterred, LTL filed a second petition for bankruptcy, this time arguing that it had garnered increased backing from plaintiffs for an all-encompassing settlement totaling $8.9 billion dollars that would address both current and potential future talc-related lawsuits. On July 28, 2023, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Michael Kaplan in Trenton, New Jersey, ruled that this second bankruptcy petition, like the first, must be dismissed because the talc lawsuits did not put the company in any immediate "financial distress."


If you or a loved one has developed mesothelioma and have a history of using Johnson & Johnson talc powder, our law firm is here to assist you. We have substantial experience in handling these unique cases and can assist in recovering fair and appropriate compensation for your medical expenses, pain, and suffering. Contact us today to discuss your situation and explore the legal options tailored to your circumstances.

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