Johnson & Johnson’s bankrupt subsidiary LTL Management has filed a complaint accusing a plaintiffs’ expert in hundreds of talcum powder cases of falsifying a report upon which lawyers relied.
The complaint, filed on 16 December, alleges Dr Jacqueline Moline failed to disclose that at least one – and possibly five – of the 13 individuals in her 2019 report linking cosmetic talc to mesothelioma had other asbestos exposures.
The filing comes just days ahead of a bankruptcy hearing – to be held today (20 December) – on estimating the value of talc claims.
According to Law.com, attorneys cited a 13 September ruling by a North Carolina federal judge who found evidence that one of the individuals in Moline’s report had made a workers’ compensation claim for asbestos exposure other than from talc, which they claim had a direct bearing on the study’s credibility.
Moline is an occupational medicine specialist and a Professor at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell in Hempstead, New York.
According to LTL Management’s complaint, she has been a plaintiffs expert in more than 200 mesothelioma cases involving cosmetic talc, providing trial testimony in 16 of them.
Her report, published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, claimed to be the first large research study to link asbestos contamination in cosmetic talc to mesothelioma.
What is LTL Management?
J&J established LTL Management to hold and manage claims in cosmetic talc litigation in October 2021.
In February, the business won its court battle to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Upon LTL Management’s establishment, claimants accused J&J of trying to offload thousands of lawsuits that claim its talc contained cancer-causing asbestos.
They believed the legal move, known as a Texas two-step bankruptcy – whereby a business is split into two via a divisional merger – could result in lower payouts for plaintiffs whose cases had not been settled ahead of the filing.
While, J&J has vigorously denied that any of the talc-related claims against it have any merit, the healthcare giant announced earlier this year that it would be halting global sales of its talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder in 2023.
This followed a 2020 announcement that it would cease sales in the US and Canada.
The brand owner launched a new baby care brand, Vivvi & Bloom, this summer, which has been certified by the Environmental Working Group.
And it will further distance itself from controversy with the launch of Kenvue, its standalone consumer health company, in 2023.
Johnson’s will be among the brands under Kenvue’s portfolio, alongside Aveeno, Neutrogena, Tylenol and Dr.Ci:Labo.
However, J&J's legal woes are far from over.
In November, the first British class-action lawsuit against J&J was launched, claiming the pharma giant’s talc caused UK customers to develop cancer.
City A.M. said the collective action lawsuit claims thousands of British people may have developed cancer due to being exposed to asbestos in J&J and other pharmaceutical companies’ talc products.