For generations, people used Johnson & Johnson talc products to help reduce chafing and control moisture. Most people assumed these products were safe; after all they have been on the market for many years. However, it was found in recent years that ingredients in these talc products might have caused consumers to suffer serious illnesses, including cancer.
Many of those who suffered cancer that they believed were due to Johnson & Johnson’s talc products sued Johnson & Johnson for marketing these products despite allegedly knowing they could cause disease. Recently, Johnson & Johnson offered a settlement to resolve these product liability lawsuits.
Tens of thousands of women who suffered cancer after using Johnson & Johnson baby powder sued the company, claiming the company knew their products contained ingredients that were known carcinogens, but continued to market these dangerous products to consumers.
In 2020, Johnson & Johnson pulled talc-based products from store shelves. Still, the lawsuits continued. In one case, the company was ordered to pay $2.1 billion in damages to women who suffered cancer after using their products.
Recently, Johnson & Johnson offered $8.9 billion to settle the remaining tens of thousands of talc lawsuits against them. This is four times their prior offer to resolve these lawsuits. Once the plan is confirmed, the plaintiffs in these cases will have their claims evaluated and resolved within 12 months.
Johnson & Johnson does not admit any wrongdoing and maintains its products are safe. Still, this settlement offer is seen as a victory for those who suffered cancer following the use of Johnson & Johnson talc products.
Product liability lawsuits
The Johnson & Johnson talc lawsuits serve as a good example of product liability. All parties in the chain of manufacture of a product that is placed in the hands of consumers are responsible for ensuring these products are safe. These parties include designers, manufacturers and commercial sellers.
If the product is defective and harms a user, the user of the product might be able to pursue legal action against the responsible parties in the chain of manufacture. Product liability lawsuits might be based either on negligence or strict liability, depending on the situation.
Products can have design defects, manufacturing defects or marketing defects. Any of these product defects can harm consumers, giving the consumer the right to pursue legal action if appropriate.