Friday, June 11, 2021 - It looks like there is a good chance Johnson & Johnson will seek to settle the remaining baby powder ovarian cancer and mesothelioma cases against them. Johnson & Johnson has set aside about $4 billion for legal expenses in 2021, up from $2 billion the year before, creating speculation that they would be targeting their legal strategy towards settlements. Settling the remaining ovarian cancer claims against them could save the company billions of dollars in jury awards and buy them a couple of years in time while they negotiate the settlements. There were around 30,000 cases against them before the Supreme Court ruling. That number could now be much higher. Johnson & Johnson discontinued selling baby powder in the US and Canada about a year ago, attempting to put a lid on talcum powder ovarian cancer claims down the road. About one week ago, Johnson & Johnson‘s failed in their attempt to overturn a case, resulting in a $2 billion jury award to 22 plaintiffs that the company now must pay plus interest. In 2020, Johnson & Johnson settled 1000 Johnson‘s Baby Powder ovarian cancer lawsuits by paying the group $100 million. The most recent case was the case brought by plaintiff Wendi Hirshberg and her husband Richard and held in a virtual courtroom setting broadcast live on Courtroom View News.com. Judging by the website the case has been settled but no further information is available at this time. Hirshberg allegedly used Johnson‘s Baby Powder for the better part of fifty years and developed mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer of the lining of the lungs. Mesothelioma is the signature disease of asbestos and Hirshberg‘s attorney claimed that the plaintiff had no other form of asbestos exposure in her lifetime. The plaintiffs also argued that Johnson & Johnson executives knew that their talcum powder contained asbestos and that there is no safe level of asbestos more than fifty years ago. Visit talcum powder cancer lawsuit to learn more.
Another interesting twist that leads to speculating the health care product conglomerate could be seeking to settle cases is because they may no longer be able to get as fair a trial as before the pandemic. Covid-19 shutdowns created a backlog in cases and the courts may be more willing to try multiple plaintiffs at a time. The J&J case petitioned to the Supreme Court would have argued that the company was denied their 14th amendment right to a fair trial because the case involved 22 plaintiffs. A large number of plaintiffs could be viewed by the jury as causality itself and jurors may hear only the most egregious complaints giving many plaintiffs a free ride. Defense attorney associations think that allowing multiple plaintiffs put their clients at a disadvantage yet it may be the only way to work through the large case backlog. Courts will probably encourage settlements now more than ever in light of this.