Johnson & Johnson’s sudden and surprising settlements

Is Johnson & Johnson taking another look at their talc-based products and the possibility of asbestos playing a role in what seems to be countless mesothelioma diagnoses?

In a shocking and highly uncharacteristic decision by a company with vast financial resources, the top healthcare product manufacturer settled three lawsuits alleging that their talc products have a direct link to a serious and deadly illness.

Three hours after Oklahoma City jurors began deliberations in a lawsuit filed against J&J, a judge put an end to the proceedings. Both sides reached an agreement in one of many mesothelioma-related lawsuits the company is facing.

Johnson & Johnson did not stop there. North of Oklahoma in New York, they came to an accord with another mesothelioma victim after J&J could not stop potentially damaging expert testimony. Across the country in Los Angeles, they ended a third dispute over similar claims in a trial scheduled for the following month.

This supposed “turnaround” is occurring in the shadow of J&J successfully overturning multi-billion-dollar verdicts and having decisions reversed in three of the first five rulings against them. The company is clearly on somewhat of a winning streak, yet seem to be snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Johnson & Johnson remains steadfast in denying that the products they manufacturer contain asbestos. A spokesperson cited settlements as a common and reasonable option when appropriate, but denied any “organized settlement” program.

While three plaintiffs received the answers they wanted, the trifecta of resolutions leaves more questions than answers. J&J is still facing 13,000 similar lawsuits nationwide with more than 25 ready for trial. Is their current strategy a trend and will that lead to another groundswell of future legal problems?

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