The federal bankruptcy judge who rejected a controversial bankruptcy plan of a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary has issued an order that officially lifts the two-year stay on talcum powder litigation. Tens of thousands of talcum powder lawsuits were paused while the U.S. bankruptcy court and a federal appeals court weighed in on Johnson & Johnson’s 2021 plan to offload billions of dollars in talc liabilities onto LTL Management, a then newly-formed subunit that subsequently filed for bankruptcy.
Plaintiffs who have made similar claims that asbestos contamination in J&J talc products caused them to develop mesothelioma, ovarian cancer, or other injuries are hoping that U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Michael B. Kaplan’s Aug. 11 order will quickly put more than 60,000 cases—over 37,000 officially filed—on a fast track to resume the litigation.
However, Judge Kaplan rejected a proposal by the plaintiffs that called for the prevention of J&J and its subsidiary to file for bankruptcy a third time within 180 days of the ruling.
The Third Circuit Court of Appeals rejected LTL Management’s initial bankruptcy plan in March. The restructuring plan included a $2 billion global settlement to resolve all current and future talc cancer lawsuits. The Third Circuit ruled that neither LTL Management nor its parent company was in a state of financial stress that warranted bankruptcy protection.
Within days of the Third Circuit’s ruling, J&J filed for a second bankruptcy protection plan on behalf of its subunit, this time proposing a nearly $9 billion global settlement. Judge Kaplan ruled in July that the bankruptcy plan was filed in bad faith.
Prior to the 2021 stay on talc litigation, a series of test cases in the federal talc litigation was due to be held. Since federal talc lawsuits were stayed, over 600 plaintiffs represented in the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee have died because of chronic illnesses, allegedly caused by asbestos contamination. The U.S. District judge overseeing the talc cancer MDL, Judge Michael A. Shipp, has set an MDL status conference for Sept. 6.
If you have been harmed by talcum powder products, contact MedTruth for a free case evaluation. All of the firms we work with are based on contingency, and you’ll pay no fees unless a settlement is reached on your behalf.