Plaintiffs warn the process of assessing the talcum powder lawsuit settlement values could last as long as three to five years, further delaying progress in litigation that was set to go before juries this year.
In order to help break the impasse that has prevented settlement negotiations from moving forward, the federal judge presiding over bankruptcy proceedings involving a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary has appointed Ken Feinberg[i] to value the talcum powder lawsuits brought by thousands of women who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and other injuries.
Since February, Johnson & Johnson has been pursuing a contentious "Texas Two-Step" bankruptcy plan in an effort to segregate the enormous liability it faces for failing to alert consumers to the cancer risks associated with talcum powder into a separate company, LTL Management, LLC, which detractors have claimed was established only to force it into bankruptcy and delay justice for plaintiffs seeking compensation through the U.S. Court system.
While the parties try to establish a settlement program through the bankruptcy, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Michael Kaplan has agreed to continue a stay on all proceedings in more than 38,000 Baby Powder lawsuits and Shower-to-Shower lawsuits filed by women with ovarian cancer, mesothelioma, and other injuries for months.
Judge Kaplan Seeks Injury and Wrongful Death Claims Evaluation
Judge Kaplan stated that the Court had appointed renowned mass tort settlement and mediation expert Kenneth Feinberg to provide an unbiased evaluation of the valuations of the talcum powder lawsuits. This move brings women a step closer to settlements for their cancer injuries and wrongful death claims. This was needed because Johnson & Johnson has not acted promptly in the resolution process.
LTL claimed that it is not attempting to limit its talc liability and is not attempting to drag out the process of assessing talcum powder settlement sums for several years, but rather believes that an estimate of the value of the claims will assist define limits for prospective settlement agreements.