Despite hearing that mesothelioma victim Vincent Hill would face “certain and irreparable” harm if his lawsuit can’t proceed, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Michael Kaplan denied the dying man’s request to allow his talc claim against Johnson & Johnson to go to trial. The company is currently enjoying an injunction against more than 38,000 personal injury claims alleging harm caused by exposure to asbestos in its talc products.
Johnson & Johnson Bankruptcy Filing is Shielding it From Mesothelioma Claims
Asbestos in Johnson & Johnson talc products has been blamed for malignant mesothelioma and ovarian cancer by tens of thousands of people diagnosed with the serious and deadly diseases. After multiple lawsuits against them ended with billion-dollar verdicts, the company spun off its talc liabilities to a newly formed company, LTL, which they then filed to put into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in a North Carolina court.
Prior to the bankruptcy case being transferred to New Jersey, a preliminary injunction was put in place, blocking mesothelioma claims against the company while the bankruptcy case is being considered.
Mesothelioma Victim Has Little Time Left to See Justice Done
At a hearing this week, Vincent Hill asked for the injunction to be lifted to allow his mesothelioma lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson to move forward. He had filed suit in California state court in May and after physicians indicated he would die from the asbestos-related disease in the near future, his trial was scheduled for December. It was moved back to February 14th after the injunction was put in place.
Though Mr. Hill’s attorney argued that waiting for the bankruptcy case would deprive the mesothelioma victim of having his day in court, the judge sided with LTL’s attorneys, who asserted that “If we start making exceptions it will all unravel.” The judge did, however, lift the injunction on discovery, allowing Mr. Hill’s attorneys to begin gathering evidence. He also said that he would allow the case to move forward quickly if claims against Johnson & Johnson are not stayed or if he rules to dismiss the bankruptcy case entirely.
If you or someone you love has mesothelioma and you need access to resources, we can help. Contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.