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J&J May Need to Defend Baby Powder Cancer Suits After 19-Month Pause

The company says it has a deal backed by as many as 80,000 claimants, which should be enough to meet a key legal threshold to push a settlement worth $8.9 billion through bankruptcy

Johnson & Johnson

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Bloomberg

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Healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson may be forced to start defending itself in court again after a 19-month pause imposed on more than 40,000 lawsuits that claim its baby powder caused cancer.
 
A federal judge is overseeing a hearing today in New Jersey to decide whether the lawsuits should restart, or remain on hold while J&J tries for the second time to use a bankrupt unit to persuade cancer victims to accept a settlement. 

The company says it has a deal backed by as many as 80,000 claimants, which should be enough to meet a key legal threshold to push a settlement worth $8.9 billion through bankruptcy.

The proposal has split the many law firms representing tens of thousands of women who claim they got cancer from tainted baby powder. Holdouts claim J&J wrongly put its unit — LTL Management — back into bankruptcy just hours after its first effort was dismissed on orders from a federal appeals court.  

LTL is trying to convince US Bankruptcy Judge Michael Kaplan to block the lawsuits from going forward, just as the judge did after J&J first put LTL in bankruptcy in 2021. J&J has long denied any link between cancer and baby powder and argues that the best way to settle the lawsuits is through a negotiated plan blessed by a bankruptcy court.

The new bankruptcy filing is LTL Management LLC, 23-12825, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey (Trenton).

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First Published: Apr 18 2023 | 9:38 PM IST

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