Johnson & Johnson is a leading manufacturer of prescription medications, implants, and other health and beauty products. Perhaps one of the company’s most iconic products is their baby powder. The baby powder, which is made from talc, is mined near asbestos, and recent claims indicate that the product may be contaminated by the carcinogenic fibers. Numerous lawsuits have been filed by women who claim that a lifetime use of the talc has caused them to develop ovarian cancer. Men have also filed suit, claiming that inhalation of the talc led to mesothelioma. Because of these incidences, one law firm filed a lawsuit asking the company to be required to place a warning on their product. As Bloomberg reports, the law firm wants to drop the suit, but Johnson & Johnson want it to go forward.
It’s unusual for a company to want a lawsuit to proceed when the plaintiffs want it to be dropped. That’s just want Johnson & Johnson wants. The primary reason is that the company does not want the Lanier Law Firm a chance to refile the suit with more plaintiffs.
Johnson & Johnson says it expects to win a lawsuit which would require them to place a warning on their Baby Powder under California’s Proposition 65 law. Proposition 65 requires a company to place a warning on products with a known carcinogen in its ingredients.
The lawyer, W. Mark Lanier, of Texas, has been one of the company’s most formidable opponents in the baby powder lawsuits. Last year, his firm secured a $4.69 billion jury verdict in a Missouri state court on behalf of 22 women and their families.
Currently, Johnson & Johnson is facing more than 14,000 lawsuits that accuse the manufacturer of hiding the health risks posed by their Baby Powder in order to protect one of its more recognizable brands.
The U.S. Justice Department is also pursuing a criminal investigation regarding whether the company hid possible asbestos contamination.
If the California lawsuit succeeds in requiring the company to place a warning label on its Baby Powder, that can be used to tip the scales in the other lawsuits.
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