J&J’s $6.475 Billion Settlement Proposal

J&J has come to the table and offered a $6.475 billion settlement proposal to resolve all talcum powder claims – past, present, and future – in a third bankruptcy, this time as a prepackaged bankruptcy. Here’s how that would work:

J&J has put together a fund of $6.475 billion to settle all talcum powder claims. Clients would be paid according to a fixed grid, with a portion of that amount to be set aside for those who may develop cancer in the future. We will release the grid as soon as it is made publicly available.

In a prepackaged bankruptcy, J&J will notify all potential victims of their potential claim and ask them to either vote for or against the plan. If, and only if, the proposed plan gets 75% favorable votes, J&J will then file its plan with the bankruptcy court and ask for judicial approval. From there, claims would be administered, and injured parties would be paid.

The amount of the $6.475 billion paid to any claimant, present and future, will depend upon the total number of claimants, which is currently unknown. However, we do know most of the money will go to ovarian cancer claimants, whose claims have strong support in the medical literature. However, there are many claims for other gynecologic cancers, such as uterine and endometrial, that cannot be as strongly supported. However, there are many claims for other gynecologic cancers, such as uterine and endometrial cancers, that cannot be as strongly supported. Those cancers will be compensated at a $1,000.00 level on a “quick pay” basis.

The estimated timeframe for voting on the settlement offer is June 3, 2024, to July 26, 2024. In the upcoming weeks, we will be in touch with all our talcum powder clients to give you more information about casting your vote.

Here are the answers we know so far:

Q: Didn’t the settlement amount go down?

A: Yes, the reason it is lower ($6.475 Billion) than the previous LTL Management’s second proposed bankruptcy plan ($8.9 Billion) is due to LTL Management settling talcum powder-mesothelioma claims, the State Attorney General claims, and talc-supplier claims which had been included in the 2nd bankruptcy proposal. We hope this will bring some amount of peace and financial relief to our clients, in addition to allowing them to receive payments quicker than if we were to continue the litigation process.

Q: Am I getting any money?

A: If you are a current talc claimant, yes. You are part of this resolution. In addition, Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay small settlements to clients with other gynecological cancers, many who were told in the past that their cases would not be compensable. Claimants will still be required to provide supporting medical records to confirm their diagnosis.

Q: How much money will I be getting?

A: Unfortunately, it is too early in the process to provide a dollar amount. Unlike class action settlements where everyone’s damages are the same, not everyone will receive the same amount in a mass tort litigation because individual claims and damages differ. To that end, a payment matrix is being developed based upon factors including but not limited to the type of cancer you or your loved one has or had, the age at diagnosis, the stage at diagnosis, and the medical outcome of the cancer. These factors will be used to standardize the dollar amounts you will be awarded. That matrix is not currently viewable, but you will receive it as soon as it becomes available.

Q: How long until I receive money for my claim?

A: Given the variables that this plan still requires, we do not have a set commitment to a timeline for funding. However, it is highly probable it will be faster than traditional litigation.

Q: I heard claimants will receive payments over 25 years. Is that true?

A: No, that is not true. Current claims will be paid immediately as they are processed. The trust will be established for approximately 25 years to compensate people not yet been diagnosed. This means that future victims will not have to fight a decade-long court battle like today’s plaintiffs have done.

Q: Does the cancer type make a difference?

A: Yes, the type of cancer does make a difference. That’s because the science linking talc to ovarian cancer is stronger than the science for other cancers.

Q: Is this a good deal?

A: The short answer is yes. This is one of the largest mass tort resolutions in history, and the average payout amounts will be, in many cases, considerably higher than resolutions in many other large litigations involving terrible injuries. No amount of money can make up for all that you and your loved ones have lost. But we hope that this deal brings you some amount of peace and financial relief.

Q: What happens if 75% of the plaintiffs do not agree on this resolution?

A: If 75% of claimants do not agree, the resolution will not go into effect. In that case, we would likely be facing more years of litigation.

Q: What happens if I decide not to agree on this resolution?

A: Well, first consider that there are tens of thousands of cases. The United States court system is incredibly slow. There have been less than a dozen trials in the last ten years. Even allowing for two years of COVID-related delays, with that average, we would still be looking at hundreds of years for all of the cases to go through the court system. If you were to go to trial within your lifetime, you would have no guarantees in court. You could very easily walk away with nothing at all. We don’t want that for any of our clients.

Q: Why is this settlement going to be done through bankruptcy?

A: The appellate court ruled that the original Texas Two-Step bankruptcy wasn’t legal because it wasn’t done correctly. J&J now want to try a prepackaged bankruptcy done with everyone’s consent which will likely pass judicial scrutiny. They would have done this with or without our blessing. They have said that they are filing this way to end future talc lawsuits and resolve current claims. We are holding them to that.

Q: What if the $6.475 Billion runs out?

A: The resolution agreement includes the establishment of a trust to cover future J&J talc claims, as well as current claims. As a result, we do not expect the fund will “run out” of money to compensate our clients. In addition to paying all current claims, the trust will gain interest over the next 25 years and is expected to pay $11 billion over time. This allows those who, sadly, will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the future to be compensated quickly and not have to spend years battling in court.

Q: Do I have to pay taxes on the money I will receive?

A: Personal injury and wrongful death settlements are generally not taxable. While consulting with a tax and accounting expert is always wise, this is the prevailing view.

Q: I’m a client who answered a question wrong on a previous form. Can I correct it?

A: Absolutely! Please provide any corrected information to TalcumPowder@onderlaw.com or call us at 314-373-4609.

Q: Was J&J ordered to remove talcum powder products from store shelves?

A: While they were not ordered to stop selling talc-based products, J&J has been effectively forced by these lawsuits to remove their talc-based cosmetic products from store shelves. They removed it from shelves in the US in 2020. They did it because of you and the tens of thousands of women and their families who stood with you and with us to say that enough is enough!

You have helped to save countless women worldwide from suffering. That’s something for which you can be proud. As we’ve said in the past, no one is truly regulating these products. It takes lawsuits like this and people like you to save lives for generations to come.

Q: Is the Imerys bankruptcy separate from this deal?

A: Yes. You will be able to collect from the Imerys trust, IN ADDITION TO the J&J payment.

Q: Why is my payment less than what people receive when they win in court?

A: Settlement amounts are never the same as what people tend to be awarded in court if they prevail. Trials involve considerably more risk: people can be awarded significant compensation by juries, but they are rarely paid in full. Trials also involve big dollar amounts because the overarching goal is to force the parties to come to a settlement agreement. Without settlement, it would take hundreds of years for all the cases in a mass tort litigation to go to trial.

We hope we’ve answered some of your early questions. We are deeply encouraged and proud of the progress that has been made in this litigation. Through the years, we’ve seen J&J refuse to come to the table at all, and then to offer incredibly small amounts. Now, we’ve negotiated a resolution that mediators and experts’ support.

Most importantly, we’ve changed the way this corporation does business. No one was holding them accountable until we, together, forced them to pull talc from shelves. You have been part of saving countless lives for generations to come. For that, we should all be proud.