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Terminally ill man wins $18 million lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder

A 24-year-old man from California who claimed that the talc in Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder caused his cancer has been granted $18.8 million for damages on Tuesday as compensation in his lawsuit against the firm.

However, due to bankruptcy, there has been a court injunction that has frozen legal procedures for allegations over Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based products, which means that Anthony “Emory” Hernandez Valadez, a mesothelioma patient, is unlikely to get the money anytime soon.

And the only reason US Chief Bankruptcy Judge Michael Kaplan let Valadez’s case proceed as an exemption is because of his rapidly deteriorating health.

Valadez claimed that Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder had asbestos in it and claimed that his mother frequently applied the product to him as a child. Mesothelioma, the medical condition he has, is an uncommon and malignant cancer of the tissue encircling the main organs of the body that is frequently linked to exposure to asbestos.

Speaking in court in June, his attorney, Joe Satterley said, “This will take his life”. At the time, Satterley said that Valadez’s physicians now believe he won’t survive the summer, despite earlier predictions that the 24-year-old would not survive through December 2022.

Meanwhile, in a statement, Erik Haas, the company’s vice president of lawsuits said that according to decades of independent scientific analyses, “Johnson’s Baby Powder is safe”, and “does not contain asbestos, and does not cause cancer”.

Valadez joins tens of thousands of plaintiffs who have claimed that Johnson & Johnson’s products’ talc occasionally contained asbestos and may have contributed to cancer.

However, these claims have been put on hold as a result of LTL Management, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, after declaring bankruptcy in April. The company intended to reach a settlement with more than 38,000 plaintiffs through the bankruptcy and divide $8.9 billion among them.

The order, which was filed in New Jersey, also stops additional lawsuits and the avalanche of new lawsuits brought against the company.

The six-week court hearing for Valdez was an exemption—and the first trial containing similar charges against Johnson & Johnson in two years.

Haas added in his statement that the jury’s award to Valadez, won’t be paid until the bankruptcy proceedings are over.

He further said that they continue to be committed to giving every claimant the chance to vote and make their own decisions regarding the company’s strategy for paying the victims in a prompt and effective manner.

Some plaintiffs are asking for the bankruptcy filing of LTL Management to be dismissed because they claim it permitted Johnson & Johnson to set a strict cap on payouts in the event that it lost the litigation.

In 2020, Johnson & Johnson withdrew sales of its talc-based baby powder and replaced it with a cornstarch-based product.

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