talc litigation

Johnson’s Baby Powder once conjured cooing babies, satiny-smooth skin, and wholesome purity. But claims the talc was contaminated with asbestos invoked the fear of cancer, leading to thousands of personal injury suits and millions of dollars in damages, which relied on expert testimony for support. Denying any causal connection, J&J’s spin-off declared bankruptcy but now is fighting back – suing doctors whose “research” shored up the awards. While J&J has a right to protect its product brand, don’t doctors have the right to free speech?
The Texas Two-Step is a law allowing for the creation of a corporation that subsequently files for bankruptcy, thereby allowing product liability claims to move into bankruptcy court. J&J was the latest corporate filer until a federal judge said, not so fast.
Personal injury lawyers are either revered or reviled. Sometime purveyors of junk science, they often prey on a vulnerable and scientifically averse judiciary. But things are a’changin- at least for asbestos. And that signals bad news for the talc plaintiffs.
The proposed Purdue bankruptcy plan has its champions and its detractors. Many bemoan usurping the victim’s rights to confront the bankruptcy debtor. Others see bankruptcy as a chance to provide some compensation to those injured in a rapid and streamlined fashion, guaranteeing recovery funds are available while allowing the concern to continue operating, providing an orderly resolution so that business might continue, preserving jobs and some revenue.