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Talc Claimants Say They Will Fight J&J’s Bad Faith Chapter 11 Case

Talc Claimants Say They Will Fight J&J's Bad Faith Chapter 11 Case

Cancer patients who are seeking to hold Johnson & Johnson liable for asbestos-tainted talcum powder say they will fight what they call a “bad faith” Chapter 11 case launched by the company.

According to a report in Law 360, these plaintiffs say the company launched this Chapter 11 bankruptcy case solely to stave off about 38,000 lawsuits.

Law360 reported that during a conference in the Chapter 11 case of a J&J spinoff created to shoulder the company’s billions of dollars in mass tort liability, an attorney for the claimants indicated that the committee of talc claimants intends to file a motion to dismiss the bankruptcy. Claimants and their attorneys maintain that the J&J spinoff, LTL Management LLC, and its bankruptcy petition were “engineered” to shut down the pending litigation.

Strategic Move

Claimants have criticized J&J for forming LTL through a bankruptcy maneuver known as the “Texas Two-Step.” This is a process by which J&J created a unit in Texas to hold all of the lawsuits and then moved the unit to North Carolina and placed it in bankruptcy. This is a move that is intended to shield the company’s abundant assets from mounting product liability litigation. The claimants have said the adjudication of their lawsuits in a bankruptcy court proceeding would substantially reduce their payouts and is made in bad faith.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Michael B. Kaplan said during the conference that he’s an advocate for mediation. The management conference was LTL’s first in New Jersey where the Chapter 11 case was transferred earlier this month from North Carolina. LTL defended its Chapter 11 case in an informational brief filed on Oct. 14 calling it an “efficient and certain pathway to resolve all current and future cosmetic talc claims” while allowing J&J to continue its operations. J&J in its brief continues to deny any responsibility for its talc products, which plaintiffs say, have caused their cancer.

Victims’ Stories

Law360 reports that the tort claimants’ committee criticized J&J’s brief in its own filing saying that the company failed to describe how mesothelioma and ovarian cancer had devastating victims’ lives. The committee’s brief pointed to 38,000 stories citing as an example a 50-year-old single mother who was diagnosed with both diseases and given just six months to live.

The committee pointed out something that our talc attorneys have been saying for a long time – that J&J knew its products sometimes tested positive for carcinogens and that there were concerns as early as in the 1970s. Yet, the company failed to warn regulators or its own consumers. Instead, the company aggressively marketed these products. We hope LTL’s case is dismissed as a “bad faith” bankruptcy filing as the committee states. It is obvious that there is no purpose to this filing other than dodging the talcum powder claims. We hope consumers whose lives have been changed forever and devastated get the justice they rightfully deserve.


Source: https://www.law360.com/articles/1442753/j-j-talc-claimants-vow-to-end-unit-s-bad-faith-ch-11-case

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