This blog has been following talcum powder cases against Johnson and Johnson (J&J) for the last three years. (We’ve listed the previous articles on the subject below.) Since our first article in 2017, the number of cases filed has ballooned from a few thousand cases nationwide to the now over 20,000 cases filed in federal and state courts in the United States.
So far only cases filed in state courts have settled, while none of the over 18,000 cases in the federal court system have come to trial or settled to date. Federal cases have been consolidated into a Multi-District Litigation (MDL) which provides for an efficient and consistent process to be followed during discovery and other pre-trial proceedings but allows each individual case to settle based on the losses and merits of the individual claimants.
Since our last article on this subject a little over two months ago, several new developments have occurred which have strengthened the claims of those who have suffered losses due to the use of J&J Baby Powder™, and related product, Shower to Shower™, both of which consist largely of talcum powder.
To review, plaintiffs claim that due to use of these products, the individuals developed ovarian cancer, and that J&J knew or should have known of this risk and failed to warn users of this possibility, and has even attempted to suppress scientific studies which have supported such claims for the lasts 4 decades. Furthermore, J&J has maintained that their talc contains no asbestos (a known carcinogen) since 1970, but evidence of asbestos in off-the-shelf containers of the product refute that claim. In fact, J&J recalled almost 30,000 bottles of baby powder and Shower to Shower due to potential asbestos contamination.
J&J has maintained the safety of their talc based products and has appealed the verdict in every case which has settled against them and in some cases has prevailed; however, with the number of cases filed, and the recent rulings of federal and state courts in the last year, these claims are not going away. J&J has recently withdrawn talc-based products from the U.S. and Canadian markets, in favor of similar products based on corn starch, which has many similar properties but no evidence of damage to the human body.
We will highlight three major developments on this subject which have occurred since our last article.
New Jersey appeals court reverses decision of trial court – In 2016 a New Jersey state court judge dismissed two cases against J&J, after ruling that the expert testimony presented by the plaintiffs was insufficient to establish a link between talc and ovarian cancer. In August 2020, a three-judge panel reversed the trial judge’s decision and called the original decision a misuse of the judge’s responsibility. This reversal paves the way for about 1,000 pending cases in New Jersey state courts, which have been awaiting the outcome of the appeal, to move forward.
Appeals Court in Missouri refuses to overturn $4.6 billion verdict against J&J – In 2018 a jury in Missouri state court awarded 22 women $4.69 billion who claimed that J&J’s talc-based products caused their ovarian cancer. J&J appealed the verdict, which was rejected by the appeals court in late June 2020. The appeals court reduced the verdict to $2.1 billion since 17 of the 22 plaintiffs were not from Missouri and should not have been included in the verdict. J&J plans further appeals on this case.
Federal MDL selecting 30 cases for bellwether trials – In late July 2020 the U.S. District Judge presiding over the over 17,000 federal lawsuits against J&J announced that 30 cases will be selected by mid-September 2020 for bellwether trials, which will commence in early 2021. While the outcome of these trails in not binding on the remaining cases, it does allow both plaintiffs and defendants to evaluate the relative strengths and weaknesses of their claims. A defendant who loses one or more bellwether cases may be prompted to enter into settlement negotiations with remaining clients rather than suffer continued losses.
The Richard Harris Law Firm is accepting Ovarian Cancer claims due to talc exposure
The litigation between plaintiffs and Johnson and Johnson over whether talc-based products such as Baby Powder™ and Shower to Shower™ caused Ovarian Cancer are likely to persist for years to come. The Richard Harris Law Firm is continuing to evaluate claims of those who used these products and were later diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. If this has been your experience, you may be eligible for significant compensation for your injuries. Call our office today to discuss your potential case at (702) 444-4444.
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