Talc Powder class action
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Talc Powder Class Action Canada

UPDATE: U.S. Appeals Court Rejects Johnson & Johnson’s Attempt to Spin Off its Talc Baby Powder Liabilities into a “shell” corporation, LTL, and File for Bankruptcy

On January 30, 2023, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia rejected Johnson & Johnson (“J&J”)’s bankruptcy petition and plan to offload tens of thousands of lawsuits over its infamous talc-based Baby Powder into bankruptcy court. The claims allege that talc-based Baby Powder causes ovarian cancer. This decision can be found here.

In 2021, J&J created a subsidiary, LTL, in an effort to spin off and shift all of its talc related liabilities to it before filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Specifically, using the Texas Two-Step strategy, J&J attempted to split Old Consumer, its wholly owned subsidiary which faced significant talc-based liability, into two entities, New Consumer, which held all the productive assets of Old Consumer, and LTL, which would hold principally Old Consumer’s liabilities relating to talc litigation. LTC then filed a bankruptcy petition.

The Court held that J&J improperly placed LTL in bankruptcy when it faced no financial distress. The Court wrote: “Good intentions—such as to protect the J&J brand or comprehensively resolve litigation—do not suffice alone. What counts to access the Bankruptcy Code’s safe harbor is to meet its intended purposes. Only a putative debtor in financial distress can do so. LTL was not.”

This important decision overturns the federal bankruptcy court rulings approving the injunction that had blocked lawsuits for months, and underscores that multinational companies such as J&J  cannot shield themselves from accountability by resorting to bankruptcy absent immediate financial distress. The Court found that LTL was essentially a “shell company” formed almost exclusively to manage and defend thousands of talc related claims, while insulating the assets of New Consumer (formerly Old Consumer, a wholly owned subsidiary of J&J that was restructured into two entities, New Consumer, which held all the asserts and LTL, holding principally Old Consumer’s liabilities relating to talc litigation).

J&J is reportedly appealing the decision.

In Ontario, the Plaintiffs’ certification motion record was delivered on September 30, 2021 on behalf of a proposed Class consisting of “All women resident in Canada who purchased and/or used JOHNSON’S® baby powder and their estates, administrators, or legal representatives, heirs or beneficiaries” and their family members.  The certification motion was scheduled to be argued in December 2022, but the action was stayed pending the US bankruptcy proceeding. Rochon Genova LLP and Howie, Sacks & Henry LLP remain fully committed to vigorously prosecuting this important class action and to ensuring access to justice and behaviour modification given the significant harm associated with J&J’s Talc Baby Powder.

Baby Powder Ovarian Cancer Class Action

Rochon Genova LLP and Howie, Sacks & Henry LLP have commenced a class action against Johnson & Johnson over allegations that its Baby Powder product causes ovarian cancer.

The plaintiffs all developed ovarian cancer following long-term use of Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder for feminine hygiene purposes. The suit aims to raise awareness of the serious cancer risk posed to women by Baby Powder use, and to change the behaviour of companies that put known carcinogens into the stream of the Canadian market place without warning.

The leading case in Canada is that of Thérèse Bernier, who died in March following a long battle with ovarian cancer. Another victim and representative plaintiff, Shaeda Farooqi of Mississauga, expressed her shock after learning of the strong connection between use of Baby Powder and her ovarian cancer. “I feel like I have been betrayed by an old friend. I trusted the product and was devastated when I found out that it caused my ovarian cancer” she said.

“It is beyond disturbing that Johnson & Johnson continues to sell Baby Powder without any warnings whatsoever of the link between ovarian cancer and its Baby Powder”, said Joel Rochon of ROCHON | GENOVA LLP.

What is the link between Talcum Powder & Ovarian Cancer?

Scientific researchers have established that over time, applying talcum powder to genitals, underwear, and sanitary napkins increases the risk of developing ovarian cancer by at least 33%. However, despite the evidence of a direct link, Johnson & Johnson has maintained its denial of such a connection, and has kept its product on the shelves for decades without any warning.

There are also 1200 pending lawsuits in the US against Johnson & Johnson. To date Johnson & Johnson has not issued any warning labels on the talcum powder products.

The allegations raised in the claim have not yet been proven in court. Proposed class members are represented by Rochon Genova LLP and Howie, Sacks & Henry LLP.

To view the Statement of Claim, click here.

If you would like to obtain more information about this lawsuit, please contact Jon Sloan at 416-363-1867 or toll-free: 1-866-881-2292, or email [email protected]