Written By : Michelle Llamas
Edited By : Amy Edel
Legally Reviewed By : Jim Kramer
This page features 34 Cited Research Articles

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2023 Talcum Powder Lawsuit Update

As of August 2023, J&J faced 37,770 talcum powder lawsuits in multidistrict litigation in New Jersey.

LTL Management LLC, Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary, filed for bankruptcy again in April 2023 after its original plan was nullified by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. J&J offered an $8.9 billion talcum powder settlement in an effort to again create a bankruptcy trust, but a federal district court once again determined in August 2023 that there was no basis for the company to claim bankruptcy protection given the immense funds at its disposal.

The latest J&J talc baby powder lawsuit updates include:
  • August 2023:
    Bankruptcy Court Judge Michael Kaplan rejects LTL’s second attempt at bankruptcy.
  • August 2023:
    J&J faces 37,770 active talcum powder lawsuits in the MDL.
  • July 2023:
    There are 37,543 talcum powder lawsuits pending in the MDL.
  • April 2023:
    LTL refiled for bankruptcy protection.
  • April 2023:
    Bankruptcy Court Judge Michael Kaplan reversed his decision to affirm the LTL bankruptcy.
  • March 2023:
    The U.S. Court of Appeals did not allow LTL’s request to stay a bankruptcy ruling.
  • January 2023:
    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued a ruling that temporarily prevented J&J from exploiting bankruptcy law to resolve talcum powder cases.
  • September 2022:
    Plaintiff’s attorneys argued against LTL’s bankruptcy in court.
  • October 2021:
    J&J created the subsidiary LTL Management LLC and transferred its talcum powder liability to this company. LTL then filed for bankruptcy — a move infamously known as the “Texas two-step.”
  • June 2021:
    The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear J&J’s request to overturn a $2.1 billion verdict. The verdict originally came from a Missouri jury who ruled in favor of 22 women who claimed J&J’s talcum powder led them to develop ovarian cancer.

A handful of lawyers who represent some of the 70,000 talc lawsuit plaintiffs support J&J’s proposed $8.9 billion deal. But lawyers who have been representing clients in this litigation for years, such as Trent Miracle of Simmons Hanly Conroy, have claimed the amount is too low.

According to Miracle, there needs to be enough money set aside for injuries that could pop up many years in the future.

“You have no idea how many cancer cases are going to pop up between now and 10 years from now, 20 years from now,” Miracle told Consumer Notice.

three icons representing filing a lawsuit
Diagnosed with mesothelioma or ovarian cancer after using talcum powder?
Get your free case review today.

Why Are People Filing A Talcum Powder Lawsuit?

People are filing lawsuits to receive compensation for asbestos-related illnesses from exposure to talcum powder that contains asbestos. Asbestos and talc are both minerals that commonly occur together underground, which increases the risk of cross-contamination.

Talcum powder lawsuits can be for both consumer and industrial product use. 

Injuries Named in Talc Lawsuits

Mesothelioma is the most common cancer named. It can affect the lining of the lungs and abdomen after inhaling asbestos fibers, but can also occur around the linings of other organs as well.

Asbestos also causes ovarian cancer. The three most common injuries named in talc lawsuits are:

  • Ovarian cancer
  • Peritoneal mesothelioma
  • Pleural mesothelioma

Cosmetic and industrial talc contaminated with asbestos can lead to cancer with long-term use. Use may be personal, such as when diapering a baby or using powder products after a shower, or in an occupational setting, such as during home remodeling work.

Diagram of a cancerous ovary
Talcum powder used for perineal dusting has been linked to ovarian cancer.

Asbestos-related illnesses are serious and often deadly. Those who have developed cancer from talcum powder use are seeking compensation for pain and suffering, medical bills and wrongful death.

Who Qualifies For A Talcum Powder Lawsuit?

People who developed an asbestos-related illness after exposure to talcum powder may be eligible to sue. A diagnosis of an asbestos-related disease is the first criterion. A biopsy is the most effective way to confirm mesothelioma. A bronchoscopy may also identify asbestos fibers.

Exposure to talcum powder, either at home or in an occupational setting, is another criterion. If someone suspects an asbestos-related disease is because of talc exposure, it’s important to consult with a lawyer. A lawyer experienced in talc and asbestos cases will help collect necessary documents, file the lawsuit and argue on the plaintiff’s behalf.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Each year, more than 22,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and nearly 14,000 women die from the deadly disease

Companies Named in Talcum Powder Lawsuits

For lawsuits involving industrial talcum powder, the defendants are generally suppliers. For consumer-related lawsuits, the defendants are suppliers and manufacturers, and some are well-known brands, such as Johnson & Johnson. National retailers have also been named in some suits.

Defendants named in various talc lawsuits include:
  • Avon
  • Chanel
  • Colgate-Palmolive
  • CVS
  • Estee Lauder
  • Gold Bond
  • Imerys Talc North America
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Old Spice
  • Mennen
  • Revlon
  • Target
  • Vanderbilt Minerals
  • Walgreens
  • Walmart

Lawsuits for asbestos-containing talc products allege that the products caused a serious illness. They also allege and offer evidence that the companies knew about the issue and did nothing to resolve it or even deliberately hid information.

Talcum Powder Verdicts and Settlements

Johnson & Johnson has offered a settlement of $8.9 billion. Although there is a temporary halt of active lawsuits against J&J, there have been notable verdicts and settlements in previous years:

  • June 2021:
    The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear J&J’s appeal of a $2 billion verdict awarded to 22 plaintiffs with cancer.
  • 2020:
    Engelhard settled a case involving rubber workers who became sick after working around asbestos-contaminated talc for $72.5 million.
  • April 2018:
    A jury in New Jersey awarded $117 million to Stephen Lanzo III, who had mesothelioma.
  • August 2017:
    A jury granted $417 million to Eva Echeverria, who had ovarian cancer and died shortly after the trial. There was a turnover of the verdict, but it is currently in the appeals process.
  • May 2017:
    A St. Louis jury awarded $110 million to Lois Slemp for ovarian cancer attributed to decades of using Johnson’s Baby Powder.
  • October 2016:
    A jury granted a verdict of $70 million to Deborah Giannecchini, who claimed she developed ovarian cancer from using J&J baby powder.
  • February 2016:
    A court awarded Jacqueline Fox $72 million in the first lawsuit against J&J for a case involving ovarian cancer.

The court verdicts and settlements involved different types of cases. Some were personal injury cases, which involve a living person who has a serious illness or disease as a result of the negligence of others. Wrongful death cases involve the death of an individual that occurred due to someone else’s wrongful actions.

Johnson & Johnson Response to Talcum Powder Claims

J&J continues to insist that their talcum powder did not and does not contain cancer-causing asbestos. However, a lawsuit in Missouri against the company used unsealed emails as evidence that the company was aware of the dangers.

The emails revealed that scientists wrote a report in 2009 that highlighted potential health risks, but J&J told them to change the information in the report. This ultimately led to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration not adding cancer warnings to the talcum powder.

"[Johnson & Johnson] knew of the presence of asbestos in products that they knowingly targeted for sale to mothers and babies, knew of the damage their products caused and misrepresented the safety of these products for decades."
St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison

Burlison made that comment when overseeing the lawsuit involving 22 women with ovarian cancer. Because the company knew about the health risks, the initial verdict of the case was $4.7 billion.

Inquiries Into Talc Contamination

Judges are not the only ones placing pressure on J&J. Federal agencies, members of Congress, the media and health-related organizations are also asking for the company to take responsibility.

Johnson & Johnson has received inquiries and subpoenas from the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission. U.S. Senators, including Patty Murray and Ed Markey, have reached out to J&J and have requested that the FDA take action.

Certain groups, such as Black Women for Wellness, accused the company of testing its talc on African Americans and other ethnic groups and called for advocacy groups to take action. HBO Max also streamed a documentary, “Not So Pretty,” that highlighted the dangers of talcum powder.

Please seek the advice of a qualified professional before making decisions about your health or finances.
Last Modified: August 28, 2023

34 Cited Research Articles

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