(CTN News) – On Tuesday, Johnson & Johnson announced that it had reached a tentative settlement with thousands of lawsuits claiming its talc productscause cancer.
A tentative settlement agreement has been reached between the company and 42 states and Washington, D.C. for roughly $700 million.
According to Erik Haas, Johnson & Johnson global vice president of litigation, the company continues to pursue several avenues to resolve the talc litigation.
Private plaintiffs who filed lawsuits against the company outside of the settlement will have a trial later this year.
Despite the fact that Johnson & Johnson has discontinued its talc products, the company maintains that the products are safe and will not cause cancer. To resolve state claims, it previously set aside $400 million.
Despite reporting fourth-quarter results on Tuesday, the company still faces more than 50,000 lawsuits over talc, most from women with ovarian cancer. Most of the cases involve people with mesothelioma, a cancer associated with asbestos. Despite settling some mesothelioma cases for an undisclosed amount, it maintains that its talc does not contain asbestos.
There have been two attempts by the company to declare bankruptcy over its talc liabilities, but the courts have rejected each attempt.
According to the latest bankruptcy attempt by Talc, the company offered $8.9 billion to claimants. Johnson & Johnson announced plans to declare bankruptcy last year.
While some states had previously claimed that they could pursue claims during bankruptcy, the settlement may ease that process. As of yet, the courts have not resolved this issue.
There have been major plaintiff victories in talc trials for Johnson & Johnson, including a $2.1 billion judgment awarded to 22 women with ovarian cancer in 2020.
An appeals court in New Jersey threw out a $223.8 million verdict in October, finding the plaintiffs’ expert witnesses unreliable.
It stopped selling talc-based baby powder due to an increase in lawsuits and “misinformation” about talc’s safety.