Talc Litigation Proceeds as Judge Allows Crucial Expert Testimony
Cincinnati, Ohio product liability attorney reviewing talc litigation proceedings and representing plaintiffs nationwide in toxic exposure lawsuits
A New Jersey judge presiding over pre-trial proceedings in the Johnson & Johnson talcum powder multidistrict talc litigation has ordered that plaintiffs can move forward with their claims, but plaintiffs will have some limits on expert testimony. The decision is seen as another setback for Johnson and Johnson.
U.S. District Judge Freda Wolfson is the first federal judge to rule on the reliability of plaintiffs’ experts testifying on the subject of whether baby powder is directly linked to ovarian cancer. The experts’ testimony will be admitted in potentially over 16,000 pending lawsuits.
The judge found that five experts hired by plaintiffs could appear before juries in trial. The talc litigation hinges largely on scientific evidence that has been disputed by Johnson & Johnson, the company behind the most popular talc and baby powder brands in the world.
J&J hoped all of the plaintiffs’ expert testimony would be ruled inadmissible, a move that would have essentially ended a fair number of ovarian cancer cases. Without an argument of causation, it would have been difficult to build a case against Johnson & Johnson and other defendants. As it stands, the litigation and settlement negotiations can proceed.
Joe Lyon is a highly-rated Cincinnati, Ohio toxic tort attorney reviewing asbestos exposure cancer cases, and represents plaintiffs nationwide in consumer product safety lawsuits.
UPDATE: Johnson & Johnson discontinued the sales of talc-based baby powder in North America.
Johnson & Johnson Talc Litigation
Despite tens of thousands of lawsuits filed by plaintiffs across the U.S., J&J denies wrongdoing. The company has regularly cited studies and tests by safety regulators that have shown its talc products are safe and do not contain asbestos, a chemical known to cause cancer.
But the ruling by the New Jersey judge allows plaintiffs’ attorneys to present contradictory expert testimony, and allows third-party studies that conclude J&J’s talc products may cause cancer. Experts involved in the cases allege the talcum products were contaminated with asbestos and heavy metals.
Judge Wolfson, however, ruled that experts cannot testify that inhaling or ingesting talcum powder can travel to the ovaries. Experts may declare in court that talc can reach the ovaries when used vaginally.
Multidistrict litigations like the talc cancer case allows thousands of lawsuits to be consolidated, and a few early bellwether trials will be tried to determine the direction and strength of the cases. If juries side with the plaintiffs and award large verdicts, J&J is likely to settle thousands of cases rather than risk numerous costly trials.
Ovarian Cancer Linked to Talcum Powder
Plaintiffs and their attorneys allege that after using Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder for years, they developed ovarian cancer. Medical experts have claimed there may be a credible link between contaminated talc and many cancer cases. And in October 2019, J&J agreed to recall a baby powder product after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found asbestos in a sample batch.
Several talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuits have already gone to trial, including one in Missouri in 2018 that ended with a $4.69 billion talc verdict against J&J. However, the defendants have also been emboldened by prior appeals in some cases. In one notable victory for J&J, a California judge dismissed a $417 million talc verdict in 2019, saying the plaintiff failed to provide enough scientific evidence to support their claims.
The Lyon Firm works alongside industry experts to build the strongest possible case for individuals. We have experience engaging large corporations in toxic exposure cases, and have reached numerous settlements on behalf of plaintiffs. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using talcum products in the past, contact Joe Lyon at (800) 513-2403 for a free consultation and case review.