Johnson & Johnson Settles Mississippi Talc Lawsuit for $75 Million (Bloomberg)

Johnson & Johnson Settles Mississippi Talc Lawsuit for $75 Million

  Thursday, March 28th, 2024 Source: Bloomberg

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has agreed to pay $75 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the state of Mississippi, which accused the company of failing to inform consumers about the alleged cancer risks of its talc-based baby powder. This settlement resolves a contentious legal battle, averting a non-jury trial that was scheduled for the following month. The agreement, not yet made public, emerges amidst a broader context of legal challenges facing J&J, as the company confronts numerous lawsuits alleging that it concealed the cancer risks associated with its talc products.

For nearly a decade, J&J has been embroiled in litigation over its talc-based baby powder, significantly impacting the company’s stock price despite a slight increase in shares recently in New York. The Mississippi lawsuit, seeking damages up to $6 billion, centered on the company’s alleged failure over a nearly 50-year period to warn consumers about the product’s cancer risks. This lawsuit follows a broader settlement in January, where J&J agreed to pay $700 million to resolve claims from 42 U.S. states over similar allegations. However, the Mississippi settlement was not included in the January agreement.

J&J has consistently argued that its talc-based products are safe and do not cause cancer, a stance supported by the absence of a federally mandated cancer warning label on its products. Despite this, the company’s attempt to resolve ongoing and future claims through bankruptcy filings has been met with resistance from lawyers representing former talc users. J&J’s recent $9 billion settlement offer was rejected, and the company is considering a third bankruptcy filing for one of its units to facilitate further settlements.

This settlement with Mississippi represents a significant development in the ongoing legal saga surrounding J&J’s talc-based products, highlighting the complex intersection of consumer protection, public health concerns, and corporate responsibility.

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