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WASHINGTON — U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, delivered remarks at the subcommittee hearing on federal courts, oversight, action of agency and federal rights on “Abuse Chapter 11: Corporate Efforts to Side- Moving from Accountability to Bankruptcy.” During his remarks, Durbin called out Johnson & Johnson for using a corporate bankruptcy game known as “Texas Two-Step” to avoid facing claims from customers with cancer.If Johnson & Johnson succeeds in this maneuver, cancer victims who claim their illnesses were caused by asbestos in Johnson & Johnson’s talc will be forced to seek redress from a shell company and will likely receive pennies on the dollar, if anything at all.

Key quotes from Durbin:

“Go to the Johnson & Johnson website and take a look at all the pictures of these beautiful babies and all the products they sell for these babies…people are hurting and they’re trying to dance around the bankruptcy system to avoid paying these innocent victims. This is not good corporate responsibility.

“The ‘Good Company’ – if you can call Johnson & Johnson that – is worth $430 billion. So the ‘Bad Co.’ – LTL – ends up with $2 billion for 38,000 claims. And you say that is that a fair split by Johnson & Johnson? Be real. The idea was to protect $430 billion in corporate assets by creating a $2 billion entity.

“Our justice system is supposed to be about justice, not efficiency. And if you think efficiency says a $430 billion company can avoid wrongdoing…There should have been some knowledge that it was actually selling a dangerous product that endangered the lives of its innocent customers.

Video of Durbin’s opening statement is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s opening statement is available here.

Images of Durbin’s opening statement are available here for TV channels.

December 17, Durbin led a bicameral letter to Johnson & Johnson’s new CEO opposing the company’s efforts to manipulate bankruptcy laws to escape liability for damage caused by its products. This followed a previous letter led by Durbin in which senators and representatives wrote to then-CEO Alex Gorsky requesting information to help explain why Johnson & Johnson is seeking to deny plaintiffs the opportunity to have their cases fairly considered. In July, the same group of signatories introduced the Non-Debtors Discharge Prohibition Act 2021that would limit various bankruptcy loopholes that corporations and bad actors such as the Sackler family and Johnson & Johnson exploit to dodge liability, including the “Texas Two-Step” maneuver.


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