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🧼 Johnson, Johnson & class action

In today's email, we've got:

  • a class action lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson

  • law firms' logos all screwed up

  • a cool new website where you can practice interviews with your own AI coach

If you take just one thing from this email...

Class action lawsuits are not as common in the UK as they are in the US but there's a push to make it easier to bring them here too. This is to promote access to justice for more people and ensure companies act lawfully, as the impact of a class action against you can be hugely damaging (both in terms of money and reputation).


Hey guys!

One thing you might not know about me is that I'm Iranian.

Being born raised in the UK, I've always felt split in terms of my identity.

Farsi (the main language of Iran) is my first language, but I've only spent a a few months there in total across my whole life on holidays every few years. Otherwise, I've always lived in the UK.

And this internal conflict will come to its peak next week as I face the ultimate challenge of my identity as...

Iran play England in the football World Cup in Qatar. 😳

- Idin


🧼 Johnson, Johnson & class action

Credit: Giphy

What's going on here?

Johnson & Johnson (J&J), the pharmaceutical company, is going to face a class action lawsuit in the UK over claims that its talcum powder caused cancer.

What does this mean?

Class action or “collective action” lawsuits are where multiple people sharing a characteristic in common bring a claim against a defendant. In this case, the characteristic in common between the claimants would be people who were:

  1. users of J&J’s talcum powder, and

  2. diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

These types of cases are more common in the US where established legal principles make it easier to take them forward.

But there’s a push to make class action claims easier in the UK to promote access to justice for more people. More and more are taking place in recent times.

Who’s bringing the claim?

It’s being led by a newly-established Manchester-based law firm called Lanier Longstaff Hedar & Robert.

One of the firm’s partners, Mark Lanier, led a similar case in the US. He’s said that many women in the UK diagnosed with ovarian cancer would be able to trace this back to asbestos exposure from talcum powders.

The law firm is acting on a “no-win, no-fee” basis meaning that they’ll only take fees from the amount they recover if they win.

What’s the claim about?

The argument is that J&J's products contained asbestos; a mineral that can cause cancer if its fibres enter the body.

J&J allegedly breached its duty of care to its customers as it kept selling this product and failed to act in the interest of its customers.

J&J has already spent billions on costs and settlements related to this issue. In 2018, Mark Lanier’s US-based firm won a similar case against J&J receiving $4.69bn where 22 women claimed the company’s talc-based products caused them to develop ovarian cancer.

What will be the impact on J&J?

After losing the US case, the one mentioned above, J&J withdrew its talc-based baby powder from the shelves in the US and Canada in 2020. Sales of baby powder had dropped after US regulators detected carcinogenic chrysotile fibres, a type of asbestos, in a sample.

But J&J still denies any wrongdoing.

They say that their baby powder is not harmful and it only pulled the product in North America after a drop in sales “fuelled by misinformation around the safety of the product”.

In relation to the UK case, a spokesperson said they “are confident in the merits of [their] legal position.”

They went on to say “these talc-related claims have been rejected by independent experts, as well as governmental and regulatory bodies, for decades. More than 40 years of studies by medical experts around the world continue to support the safety of cosmetic talc.”.

Regardless of the outcome of the UK action, this is definitely not good for J&J. If it doesn’t hurt their pockets, it will certainly hurt their reputation.

What's next?

The potential claim is still in its early stages at the moment and the law firm is recruiting claimants for a possible UK legal action.

J&J’s UK subsidiary usually turns to Kennedys Law for defence. The ‘class’ is being represented by Lanier Longstaff Hedar & Roberts with two barristers from Exchange Chambers, Tom Longstaff and Duncan Hedar.


Spot the law firm

It's law firm application season and you might be doing your own applications at the moment too. Firms spend a lot of time on their branding. So, how well do you know the logos of the firms you're applying to?

Try and guess the law firm from the distorted pictures of their logos.

Number 1

Number 2

Number 3

Number 4

Credit: PhotoMosh

Scroll down to the bottom to see the answers. 👀


  • ⚖️ Solicitors are considering a strike over legal aid: The Law Society of England and Wales has warned that the government's failure to implement criminal legal aid rate increases for solicitors is pushing them towards disruptive action. This comes as the government doesn't seem willing to increase rates for criminal solicitors by 15% (a figure recommended by its own review of the system).

  • 💸 FTX (one of the world's largest crypto exchanges) has filed for bankruptcy: FTX is important to the whole crypto market as, along with its rival Binance, it processes most of the world's crypto trades. It has now filed for bankruptcy and its CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, has stepped down. All of the crypto market has been affected by the crisis, with bitcoin falling from $20k a coin to $16.5k, its lowest value since 2020. This article has a really good explanation for what happened at FTX (it's kinda complex).

  • 💡 Meta (Facebook's parent company) cuts 11,000 jobs: Meta (also the parent company of Instagram and WhatsApp) has let 13% of its workforce go. Mark Zuckerberg took "full responsibility" for these lay-offs as he blames lower revenue on factors like e-commerce dropping back to pre-pandemic levels and more competition for online ad spending (because of competitors like TikTok).


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