In a recent blog, I discussed how the pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson schemed to manipulate the bankruptcy system and halt cases brought by victims who claim the company’s talc-based baby powder products caused their cancer. Now the U.S. Department of Justice’s bankruptcy watchdog has made a statement that J&J abused its power, leaving 38,000 victims facing the possibility of not being compensated for medical damages. I’ll tell you more below, and discuss where the cases stand today. If you believe your cancer was caused by a talc product, a New York talc cancer lawyer at Buttafuoco & Associates may be able to help you get the compensation you need to recover.
Background on the Talc Cases
For more than a decade, Johnson & Johnson has been losing lawsuits brought by thousands of victims diagnosed with rare cancer after using the company’s talc products. Although Johnson & Johnson continues to deny that their products are unsafe, courts and the FDA have tended to rule otherwise. A 2018 Reuters investigation uncovered research that they knew for decades that its cosmetic talc products contained the carcinogen asbestos, which could link to many forms of cancer, but refused to pull them from shelves.
As lawsuits poured in and debts to victims continued to pile up, Johnson & Johnson worked to find a legal loophole that would allow them to stop compensating victims. In a nutshell, they took advantage of a controversial Texas law known as the “Texas Two-Step“, which allows a company to split into two entities–a larger business and a small subsidiary–then place the lawsuits under the smaller subsidiary. At this point, the smaller business, which doesn’t have the funds to pay for the lawsuits, files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, effectively washing its hands of big payouts to victims.
In this case, Johnson & Johnson created a small subsidiary known as LTL Management, which filed for bankruptcy almost immediately after it was formed. This left 38,000 victims to compete for scrap settlements that the smaller subsidiary could afford. In court, U.S. Bankruptcy Chief Judge Michael Kaplan ruled that J&J’s maneuvers were allowable under the law, remarking that it would speed up the litigation process that would normally take years or even decades. Cancer plaintiffs appealed the ruling, stating that LTL’s bankruptcy case amounted to no more than a sham to protect J&J’s bottom line.
As a New York talc cancer lawyer who is taking on these cases, there is no doubt that Johnson & Johnson has indeed abused the law. Corporate giants have long been known for attempting to avoid compensating victims whose health and lives have been altered by their dangerous products. At Buttafuoco & Associates, we fight for victims’ rights and hold these companies accountable. If you have received a cancer diagnosis after using a talc product, get in touch with us at 1-800-NOW-HURT and we will review your case at no charge. To learn more about how these cases work, you can read our blog here.
DOJ Files Amicus Brief, Urges Case Dismissal
In the latest news, at the beginning of July the DOJ Office of the U.S. Trustee filed what is known as an amicus brief with the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Broadly, the purpose of an amicus brief is to either reduce or expand the impact of a prior court opinion that seems either excessively damaging or helpful.
In this case, the DOJ’s bankruptcy watchdog saw J&J’s attempt to stop paying out on lawsuits as an abuse of power. They urged the court to dismiss a bankruptcy case in New Jersey that LTL had initiated, calling the bankruptcy case “a weapon against tort claimants rather than a good-faith means of reorganization,” according to Reuters.
J&J says they are confident that the appellate court will rule in its favor. However, the U.S. trustee is known for fighting corporations’ efforts to use bankruptcy courts to protect their own interests. LTL has until August 15 to respond by filing a brief with the 3rd Circuit.
Do You Believe Talc Caused Your Cancer?
If you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, lymphoma, or another related form of cancer after using a talcum powder product, a Buttafuoco & Associates talc cancer attorney serving New York can help you understand whether or not you have a personal injury case.
Big corporations must be held accountable for abusing their power, putting the safety of their consumer at risk and stripping victims of the compensation they deserve. A lawyer can help alleviate your stress by fighting for your rights during this difficult time.
To find out whether you have a case, get in touch with us today at 1-800-NOW-HURT for a free consultation.