Attorney General Neronha reaches nearly $7 million settlement with Johnson & Johnson

 

Rhode Island’s recovery against manufacturer of harmful baby powder products containing talc part of national settlement valued at $700 million

 

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha and 42 other attorneys general have reached a $700 million nationwide settlement with Johnson & Johnson to resolve allegations related to the marketing of the company’s baby powder and body powder products that contained talc. Talc is a naturally occurring mineral alleged in numerous other lawsuits filed by private plaintiffs in class actions to cause serious health issues including mesothelioma and ovarian cancer.

 

As a result of today’s settlement, Rhode Island is expected to receive approximately $6.9 million, pending judicial approval.

 

In court documents filed today in Providence County Superior Court, the Assurance of Voluntary Compliance addresses allegations that Johnson & Johnson deceptively promoted and misled consumers in advertisements related to the safety and purity of some of its talc powder products. As part of the settlement, Johnson & Johnson has agreed to stop the manufacture and sale of its baby powder and body powder products that contain talc in the United States.

 

“As the state’s top consumer advocate, this Office is steadfast in our commitment to protecting consumers and holding corporations accountable for their actions,” said Attorney General Peter F. Neronha. “The nearly $7 million Rhode Island will receive in settlement proceeds is a direct consequence of Johnson & Johnson's alleged misrepresentations of the safety of their product, serving as a stern reminder that deceptive practices and the neglect of consumer safety will be met with significant consequences in Rhode Island and across the country.”

 

Johnson & Johnson sold baby powder and body powder products that contained talc for more than 100 years. After a coalition of states began investigating, the company stopped distributing and selling these products in the United States, and more recently ended global sales. While this lawsuit targeted the deceptive marketing of these products, numerous other lawsuits filed by private plaintiffs in class actions raised allegations that talc causes serious health issues including mesothelioma and ovarian cancer.

 

Under the agreement, Johnson & Johnson:

  • Has ceased and not resumed the manufacturing, marketing, promotion, sale, and distribution of all baby and body powder products and cosmetic powder products that contain talcum powder, including, but not limited to, Johnson’s Baby Powder and Johnson & Johnson’s Shower to Shower (“Covered Products”) in the United States.
  • Shall permanently stop the manufacture of any Covered Products in the United States either directly, or indirectly through any third party.
  • Shall permanently stop the marketing and promotion of any Covered Products in the United States either directly, or indirectly through any third party.
  • Shall permanently stop the sale or distribution any Covered Products in the United States either directly, or indirectly through any third party.

 

The multi-state settlement was led by Texas, Florida, and North Carolina, with Rhode Island, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin joining.

 

To read the settlement, click here.  This matter was handled on behalf of the Office by Assistant Attorney General Stephen N. Provazza and Special Assistant Attorney General Rebecca Pinsky.

 

 

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