A ruling by a New Jersey judge has struck a blow at the defense by Johnson & Johnson (“J&J”) in the ongoing and closely followed multi-district litigation (“MDL”) over talcum powder cancer. The ruling allows the cases to continue with support from some of the plaintiffs’ expert witnesses on causation.
Tens of thousands of talc cancer lawsuits pending in N.J.
The majority of the approximately 16,000 nationwide pending talc lawsuits are currently consolidated in the New Jersey MDL before U.S. District Judge Freda Wolfson. The lawsuits allege that J&J’s talc products contain asbestos contamination and that it has caused ovarian cancer. J&J has repeatedly denied that its talcum powder can cause cancer; thus preventing the expert testimony that can provide the causal link has been a key to its defense.
Judge Wolfson’s ruling will allow crucial experts to testify as to causation. J&J sought to prohibit testimony from any of the plaintiffs’ experts, which would have effectively allowed the company to move to dismiss the cases.
Juries to hear expert testimony on causation
As is common in MDL, some “bellwether” talcum powder trials have been selected to go forward before juries. The outcomes of these bellwether trials will influence the results of later cases in the MDL.
Moreover, several talcum powder lawsuits against J&J have already gone to trial. These have resulted in several serious losses by J&J, including a $4.7 billion verdict in favor of 22 plaintiffs in a St. Louis, Missouri court. However, J&J has been successful in overturning the awards on appeal based on what one court called “made-for-litigation” methods of the plaintiffs’ experts.
The ruling by Judge Wolfson will permit juries in MDL cases to hear testimony from experts stating that epidemiological studies show that talc products have caused cancer and concluding that the link may indicate that the talc is contaminated with asbestos or heavy metals.
The ruling will also allow experts to testify that talc can invade the ovaries if it is used vaginally. This is a concern because many of the women who developed cancer after using J&J’s baby powder used it for hygiene purposes, sprinkling it in their undergarments for years. However, the experts will not be permitted to testify whether inhaled talc can reach the ovaries.
Recourse for those who have developed talcum powder cancer
When you suffer an injury or illness caused by a product, you have the legal right to seek compensation. In the talcum powder lawsuits, plaintiffs who are seeking to hold J&J and other manufacturers accountable, allege that the companies were negligent for failing to warn consumers of the risk of developing cancer.
Contact Showard Law Firm to discuss your case
If you or a loved one developed cancer after long-term use of baby powder, call Showard Law Firm to discuss whether filing a talc cancer lawsuit is the right move for you. Our team is committed to providing compassionate, personalized service so that your unique story is told even in MDL. Call today to discuss your case.