J&J Pushes to Fast-Track Talcum Powder Trials in MDL Court

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open talcum powderJohnson & Johnson is fighting thousands of product liability claims filed by women who allege that perineal use of their talc-based products caused them to develop ovarian cancer. To more efficiently handle the talcum powder litigation pending in federal courts around the nation, the claims were centralized before the Honorable Judge Freda L. Wolfson in New Jersey District Court as part of multidistrict litigation (MDL 2738).

All of the talc lawsuits share common factual questions concerning allegations that perineal use of J&J’s Shower-to-Shower and Baby Powder products can cause uterine or ovarian cancer. By coordinating the cases for pre-trial proceedings, both plaintiffs and defendants are able to pool resources while avoiding contradictory rulings and duplicative discovery.

J&J asks for Science Day in MDL proceedings

In a recent report submitted by the defendants on November 10, J&J is pushing the court to expedite the process for bellwether trial selection and hearings – a process that can last more than 12-18 months in mass tort litigation. According to the report, the New Jersey-headquartered pharmaceutical giant has already completed extensive discovery, including some 500,000 pages of documents and responses to experts. J&J asks that in the interest of judicial efficiency and fairness, that the Court create a procedure to test the scientific evidence on which claimants intend to base their actions. The defendants are asking that this “Science Day” be held during the month of January 2017. At this time, both parties and their medical experts will have an opportunity to outline their respective positions regarding the allegations raised.

Johnson and Johnson is also encouraging “close coordination” of federal and state talcum powder legal proceedings with respect to science issues that they say will demonstrate the lawsuits have been brought without merit. “The experience in the New Jersey state court proceeding makes clear that there is no reliable scientific support for plaintiffs’ claims of a link between cancer and perineal talc exposure,” states the J&J report.

Studies show increased cancer risk with talc use

Legal counsel for plaintiffs have conducted discovery as well, noting several studies since 1971 that show a causal relationship with perineal talcum powder application and an increased incidence of ovarian cancer. “Out of these 27 studies, all but one of them found a statistically significant increased risk of ovarian cancer from talc use,” states a report submitted by plaintiff attorneys.

At present, there are more than 2,000 talc cancer lawsuits pending in state and federal courts, and experts believe that litigation will continue to grow as more women begin to understand the potential health risks posed by talc-containing products. Several of these claims have already gone to trial, with juries handing down multi-million dollar verdicts to plaintiffs.

Free case review with talcum powder attorneys

Bonsignore Trial Lawyers offer free case evaluations to women who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer after years of using talcum powder. Explore your legal options by calling our national firm toll-free at 1-866-600-3890. A favorable settlement or verdict can help victims recoup damages for medical bills, lost income, emotional suffering, and other losses.

Resources:

  1. US JPML, Transfer Order MDL No. 2738, http://www.jpml.uscourts.gov/sites/jpml/files/MDL-2738-Initial_Transfer-09-16.pdf
  2. CNN, Johnson & Johnson told to pay $72 million in talcum powder cancer case, http://money.cnn.com/2016/02/24/news/companies/cancer-johnson-and-johnson-talcum-powder/

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