HARTFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--At a recent news conference, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., flanked by ovarian cancer victims Lynn Skoda and Joan Kiley, sharply criticized Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) for its role in the spread of cancer through its talcum powder products.
Ms. Kiley conveyed her emotional story, holding a photograph of her loved ones taken during her chemotherapy for ovarian cancer. Her account emphasized the broad impact of Johnson & Johnson's alleged negligence, highlighting the collective suffering of many families.
Sen. Blumenthal attacked J&J’s evasive legal maneuvering, known as the "Texas Two-Step." He detailed how in October 2021 Johnson & Johnson moved its litigation liabilities from the talc lawsuits to a subsidiary called LTL Management without providing assets sufficient to address the basic economic damages of individual claimants.
Sen. Blumenthal spotlighted the bipartisan nature of the concern surrounding this issue. "The Judiciary Committee recently convened a hearing on this situation,” he said. “There was a clear bipartisan agreement on the urgency to address the matter. Both Republicans and Democrats recognize that this situation demands action, potentially in the form of new legislation. In the interim, companies like Johnson & Johnson should step forward and provide justice."
“From Main Street to Wall Street, it’s obvious the pendulum has swung against massively profitable corporations attempting to use bankruptcy to avoid responsibility for their defective products,” said attorney Andy Birchfield, head of the Mass Torts Section at the Beasley Allen Law Firm, who has led the fight on behalf of cancer victims to oppose J&J’s attempt to revictimize tens of thousands of women with ovarian cancer who are fighting for their lives. “We appreciate Sen. Blumenthal’s commitment to justice along with legislators from both parties who join us in saying ‘no’ to this kind of corporate abuse.”
Despite Johnson & Johnson's impressive revenue of more than $97 billion in 2022, the company has unsuccessfully sought bankruptcy to force claimants to accept a proposed settlement of $8.9 billion, an amount grossly insufficient to cover even basic medical expenses for victims and their families. Reportedly, the company is considering filing for bankruptcy a third time, after courts dismissed its first two bankruptcy filings ruling, they were made in bad faith.
At the news conference, the senator expressed admiration for Ms. Skoda and Ms. Kiley, noting that their cancers are believed to be linked to talcum powder distributed by Johnson & Johnson. Sen. Blumenthal emphasized that Johnson’s Baby Powder, which independent testing showed contains asbestos, has been associated with the suffering of tens of thousands of women, due in part to the company's failure to issue sufficient warnings.
Ms. Skoda recounted her own battle with stage three ovarian cancer beginning in 2017, detailing the extensive medical procedures that often accompany treatment. Later, DNA testing showed she had no genetic predisposition to ovarian cancer, suggesting her exposure to talcum powder as an infant may be the cause of her illness.
“Sen. Blumenthal is part of a growing chorus of concerned lawmakers challenging Johnson & Johnson to rise to the occasion,” said Mr. Birchfield. “We believe it’s essential that our leaders reinforce that J&J has a moral and legal obligation to address the harm caused by the company’s talcum powder products.”
For the complete press conference, watch the video.