Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay more than $100 million to resolve over 1,000 lawsuits that have claimed that the company’s talc-based baby powder caused cancer, according to a report by Bloomberg News, citing people with knowledge of the settlements.
While there are still nearly 20,000 lawsuits pending around J&J’s iconic baby powder, these agreements represent the first time that the company has settled the bulk of cases brought by an attorney — or in this instance, by three different law firms.
It has been seven months since the company last faced plaintiffs in front of a jury because of the coronavirus pandemic, but that break is about to end with a mesothelioma claim to be heard later this month in California.
In certain circumstances, we do choose to settle lawsuits, which is done without an admission of liability and in no way changes our position regarding the safety of our products… Our talc is safe, does not contain asbestos and does not cause cancer.
According to Bloomberg, J&J would incur costs as high as $10 billion in order to settle all of the outstanding baby powder cases.
In its Form 10-Q filed with the SEC for the quarter ended June 28, 2020, J&J disclosed it was contending with over 81,000 active liability claims across a spectrum of products:
Johnson & Johnson – Active Product Liability Claims as of June 28, 2020
Source: Data from Johnson & Johnson Form 10-Q dated July 24, 2020, for the period ended June 28, 2020. Chart by Equities News.
Source: Equities News