Speed Reads

'a significant victory'

Johnson & Johnson agrees to $8.9 billion talc settlement

Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay $8.9 billion to tens of thousands of people who alleged the company's talcum powder caused cancer, The New York Times reports. Lawyers for some of the plaintiffs called the proposed settlement a "significant victory" in a case that has been ongoing for over a decade. 

The company would pay out the proposed settlement over 25 years through a subsidiary, LTL Management, which filed for bankruptcy protection on Tuesday to enable the $8.9 billion payout, Johnson & Johnson said in a court filing. If the bankruptcy court approves it, "the agreement will resolve all current and future claims involving Johnson & Johnson products that contain talc, such as baby powder," the Times summarizes. The company will also need to convince enough claimants to approve the settlement plan. An earlier bankruptcy filing that included a $2 billion settlement was dismissed by a U.S. appeals court earlier this year.  

In a statement by lawyers representing nearly 70,000 plaintiffs, the "landmark" settlement was described as a "significant victory for the tens of thousands of women suffering from gynecological cancers caused by J.&J.'s talc-based products." But other lawyers representing claimants opposed the settlement, "though they acknowledged that approval by the court would apply to all plaintiffs," the Times writes. 

For example, Jason Itkin, whose law firm is representing 10,000 claimants who say the talc-based powders caused their ovarian cancer, said the settlement is "bad for victims" and will likely be blocked in court. "Even though $8.9 billion sounds like a lot of money, when you spread it out it comes out to not very much at all for the people who suffered," he said.