J&J's SEC Filing Indicates $3.9B Reserved For Talc Lawsuits

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An Annual Report Pursuant to Section 13 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, filed by the talcum powder giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) indicated that the manufacturer has set aside $3.9 billion in litigation expenses in 2020, which is primarily associated with talc-related reserves and certain settlements.

The Form 10-K document filed on February 22 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) also indicated the company’s position in other ongoing litigations, which included hip replacement devices, Xarelto, Invokana, Risperdal, pelvic mesh products, and Elmiron.

In its filing, the company noted that it is facing more than 25,000 Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower lawsuits by former users, claiming asbestos-laced talc in the product resulted in their cancers.

Last month, the Kentucky Court of Appeals reversed a verdict that favored the company over a lawsuit claiming its baby powder for a deceased woman's cancer. The appellate court reversed the verdict after finding that the trial court’s decision over allowing the defendant to elicit “irrelevant personal and family use testimony from its witness” prejudiced the plaintiff. The court also remanded the case for a new trial against the company.

A $2.12 billion verdict, which was awarded to women who alleged the company's products for their ovarian cancer is also being appealed by the company in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Last year the company stopped selling its talcum-based products in the U.S. and Canada, stating a decline in consumer demand and misinformation about the safety of the products.

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