Talcum Powder Lawsuits

People filing talcum powder lawsuits claim they were diagnosed with cancer after using talc-based Johnson's Baby Powder. In April 2023, Johnson & Johnson proposed an $8.9 billion bankruptcy settlement to settle these lawsuits. As of September 2023, more than 47,000 cancer lawsuits were pending in the MDL.

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Last Modified: September 18, 2023
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Latest J&J Talc Baby Powder Lawsuit Updates

Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary, LTL Management LLC, refiled for bankruptcy in April 2023 as part of ongoing efforts to seek Chapter 11 protection. If successful, the reorganization will allow the company to fund an $8.9 billion bankruptcy trust to settle more than 38,000 current claims and future claims arising from talc lawsuits.

As of September 2023, J&J faced 47,346 talcum powder lawsuits in multidistrict litigation in New Jersey.

The latest J&J talc baby powder lawsuit updates include:
  • April 2023: According to a regulatory filing, LTL refiled for bankruptcy protection in a New Jersey court. Under a proposed agreement, J&J would pay about $8.9 billion over 25 years to current and future plaintiffs to settle talcum powder lawsuits.
  • April 2023: In a New Jersey bankruptcy court, Judge Michael Kaplan nullified the LTL bankruptcy he had previously affirmed.
  • March 2023: The U.S. Court of Appeals declined LTL’s request to stay a bankruptcy ruling while the company sought a U.S. Supreme Court review.
  • January 2023: In Philadelphia, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit dismissed LTL’s bankruptcy status. The ruling temporarily prevented J&J from exploiting bankruptcy law to resolve the multibillion-dollar talc powder lawsuits it faces.
  • September 2022: Plaintiff’s attorneys in J&J talc baby powder lawsuits presented their arguments against LTL’s bankruptcy in court.
  • October 2021: J&J created the subsidiary LTL Management LLC, which assumed the company’s then-$4.5 billion potential liabilities from talcum powder lawsuits. LTL filed for “Texas two-step bankruptcy” soon after.
  • June 2021: In a landmark ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court declined J&J’s request to overturn a $2.1 billion Missouri court award to 22 women with ovarian cancer.

Some lawyers representing some of the estimated 70,000 talc lawsuit plaintiffs are in favor of J&J’s proposed $8.9 billion deal. However, lawyers who have been involved in MDL leadership are not in favor of the settlement amount.

In 2019, Johnson & Johnson issued a recall of 33,000 bottles of Johnson’s Baby Powder after samples were found to contain asbestos. While J&J denies any liability and insists it did not sell cancer-causing products, it halted the sale of talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder in North America in May 2020. In 2023, it switched to a cornstarch-based alternative and discontinued worldwide sales of talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder.

What Types of Talc Lawsuits Are People Filing?

Tens of thousands of people who developed mesothelioma or ovarian cancer after using talc-based products have filed product liability lawsuits against potentially liable manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and other parties.

To compensate for pain and suffering, many of them sought punitive and compensatory damages through the courts. A number of these cases were compiled into state and federal multidistrict litigations, known as MDLs. Major brands and manufacturers have faced class-action lawsuits alleging possible cancer risk from asbestos-contaminated talc products.

Exposure to asbestos in talc-based consumer products such as baby powder, or industrial solutions like adhesives and chalk, caused health problems for plaintiffs, according to product liability claims. Families who lost a loved one because of the hazardous talc exposure have filed wrongful death claims.

Brands and Companies Named in Lawsuits

Previous and ongoing talcum powder lawsuits named major brands within the talc supply chain, from manufacturers such as Johnson & Johnson to suppliers.

Brands include:
  • Cashmere Bouquet (Colgate-Palmolive)
  • Gold Bond Body Powder
  • Gold Bond Extra Strength Body Powder
  • Gold Bond No Mess Powder Spray
  • Johnson’s Baby Powder
  • Shower to Shower (J&J)
  • Vanderbilt Minerals raw industrial talc
  • Whittaker, Clark & Daniels raw cosmetic talc

Besides manufacturers and suppliers, plaintiffs have sued retailers for selling them products that contained asbestos. Some plaintiffs named Target, Walmart, Walgreens and CVS in their talcum powder lawsuits.

Notable Talcum Powder Verdicts

Since the first talcum powder lawsuit against J&J and other companies, courts have awarded billions of dollars in damages to claimants. The compensation has provided some financial relief to people with talc-related cancer.

Notable talcum powder verdicts include:
  • July 2023: A California jury awarded $18.8 million to 24-year-old Emory Hernandez Valadez, who claimed J&J's baby powder led him to develop pericardial mesothelioma.
  • March 2023: In a lawsuit against former talc supplier Whittaker, Clark & Daniels, a South Carolina jury awarded $29.14 million to a woman who linked her mesothelioma to the use of asbestos-contaminated talc products.
  • December 2022: A Los Angeles Superior Court jury awarded Rita Chapman $10 million in compensatory damages in a verdict against Avon Products Inc. Chapman attributed her cancer to using Avon’s talc-based cosmetics and had earlier been awarded $40 million.
  • June 2021: The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a $2 billion verdict against J&J in a case involving 22 people in different states who have cancer. Plaintiffs’ attorneys had shown J&J’s prior knowledge and internal discussion of asbestos contamination in its talc products.
  • September 2019: A New Jersey jury awarded $37.2 million to Douglas Barden, David Etheridge, D’Angela McNeill-George and Will Ronning. The plaintiffs attributed their mesothelioma to asbestos contamination in Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products.
  • April 2018: In a verdict against J&J and its talc supplier, Imerys Talc, a New Jersey jury awarded $117 million to Stephen Lanzo III and his wife. The plaintiff blamed his mesothelioma on using Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower.

J&J and other talc-related companies face nearly 40,000 lawsuits. Many claims were filed by people who say they developed cancer from exposure to asbestos-tainted consumer products, such as cosmetic talc products, and industrial products.

Punitive Damages in Talc Verdicts

In many talcum powder cases, courts issued high-dollar verdicts in favor of those diagnosed with cancer or their families. Punitive damages hold defendants accountable for products they knew contained toxic asbestos that they failed to caution regulators and consumers about.

Internal memos analyzed by Reuters and available to plaintiffs lawyers show that J&J researched and uncovered asbestos contamination in its talc products.

Notable Talc Lawsuit Settlements

While manufacturers vowed to defend their brands against talc lawsuits, companies like Imerys Talc and Colgate-Palmolive resolved disputes privately before they reached a courtroom.

Notable talc lawsuit settlements include:
  • April 2023: Johnson & Johnson proposed an $8.9 billion settlement to about 60,000 plaintiffs who it said agreed to its latest bankruptcy plans.
  • February 2023: Emtal reached a $72.5 million settlement with rubber workers who developed asbestos-linked lung cancer after exposure to the company’s talc.
  • July 2018: After confidential out-of-court negotiations, Colgate-Palmolive compensated Paul Garcia, who blamed his mesothelioma on using baby powder made by former Colgate-Palmolive affiliate Mennen.
  • March 2018: During jury deliberations in Florida state court, Vanderbilt Minerals LLC settled a potential $11.5 million lawsuit with Robert Lord, a former tile worker. The plaintiff attributed his mesothelioma to inhaling asbestos in the company’s industrial talc products.
  • November 2017: Colgate-Palmolive agreed to confidential out-of-court negotiations with Carol Schoeniger. The plaintiff blamed the company’s talc-based products for her asbestos exposure and mesothelioma.

If J&J’s proposed $8.9 billion bankruptcy deal is approved, it won’t be the first time the company settled a large talc-related claim. In October 2020, it offered an estimated $100 million to settle more than 1,000 claims, according to Bloomberg.

Who Is Eligible to File a Talc Lawsuit?

Consult an attorney if you have ovarian cancer or mesothelioma after regularly using or working with talc-based products. You may be eligible whether your asbestos-contaminated talc exposure was from industrial use or consumer use. You may also be eligible to file a talc claim if you lost a loved one to cancer after asbestos exposure.

To make a strong case and maximize potential compensation, plaintiffs should enlist an attorney. It takes legal expertise and relevant case experience to document asbestos exposure and consequential harm properly and to identify all potentially liable parties, including talc brands, suppliers and employers.

Eligibility to file a talc lawsuit also depends on your state’s statute of limitations. The average statute of limitations for a wrongful death talc lawsuit is about two years from the cancer patient’s date of death. It usually takes 20 to 60 years from the time of asbestos exposure to develop detectable cancer symptoms.

Top Talcum Powder Lawyers

Working with top talcum powder lawyers is essential because defendants will deny liability and often have adequate resources to contest all claims, no matter how long it takes. Before choosing a law firm to represent you, consider their experience in personal injury litigation against major corporations.

Ask whether they have nationwide resources and the value of talc lawsuit settlements and verdicts they’ve secured for clients over the years. If you’re in the hospital or too sick to travel, you may need a lawyer with virtual consultation options and the flexibility to come to you.

Top talcum powder law firms to consider include Weitz & Luxenberg and Simmons Hanly Conroy. Weitz & Luxenberg recently secured $27.4 million in compensation for a plaintiff with mesothelioma who had used J&J’s baby powder. Simmons Hanly Conroy secured a $3.8 million verdict for a plaintiff who died of mesothelioma from workplace asbestos exposure.

Please seek the advice of a medical professional before making health care decisions.