The judge overseeing the talcum powder ovarian cancer cases against Johnson & Johnson has ruled that the cases can go forward to trial in federal court. Johnson & Johnson had filed motions asking that every plaintiff’s expert be disqualified from testifying. In the first ruling on the admissibility of expert evidence in the federal talcum powder multi-district litigation (MDL), U.S. District Judge Freda Wolfson ruled that five plaintiff’s experts (two of whom have testified before Congress) can testify at trial.
The judge ruled that the plaintiffs can present testimony that the talc in J&J’s products could be contaminated with asbestos. Plaintiffs can also present expert testimony that J&J’s baby powder products cause ovarian cancer, based on epidemiological studies. The experts will be allowed to testify that the cancer link could be caused by asbestos and/or heavy metals.
The judge ruled that experts may not testify that talc by itself causes ovarian cancer. She also ruled that experts may testify that talcum powder reaches the ovaries when used vaginally, but that they cannot testify that talc reaches the ovaries via inhalation.
The judge’s ruling also allowed Johnson & Johnson to present the testimony of three experts.
No trials have been held in the federal court talcum powder cancer cases filed against J&J. However, several lawsuits against cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson over their talcum powder products have already gone to trial in state courts around the country, including one in St. Louis, Missouri, involving 22 plaintiffs. That case resulted in a record $4.69 billion talc verdict against J&J in July 2018, which the company is appealing. In total Johnson & Johnson faces more than 16,000 cases nationwide.
In addition, Johnson & Johnson faces a federal criminal investigation into whether the company was honest with consumers about what it knew about talc and cancer.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using talcum powder you may have a legal claim for damages. Call Thornton Law Firm’s talcum powder cancer attorney, Marnie McGoldrick, for a no-cost, no-obligation evaluation of your legal claim at 1-888-341-1405. Or tell us your story here. Seek legal advice immediately if you believe you may have a claim. Like all lawsuits, talc baby powder lawsuits must be filed within strict time limits.
A Middlesex County New Jersey jury awarded four sets of plaintiffs $37 million dollars against Johnson & Johnson for mesothelioma caused by talc baby powder. The consolidated trial lasted almost three months, and at the end, the judge struck the Johnson & Johnson attorney’s entire closing argument, ruling that the attorney had made improper comments on the evidence.
The jury’s unanimous verdict was that all of the plaintiffs had been exposed to asbestos by using Johnson and Johnson’s baby powder and Shower to Shower talcum powders contaminated with asbestos. The jury also unanimously ruled that J&J failed to warn the plaintiffs about the dangers of its talcum body powders. In a 5-1 vote, the jury ruled that those actions caused the plaintiffs’ mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a rare and fatal cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.
The award is for compensatory damages only. Punitive damages may be awarded in a separate phase of the trial. Plaintiffs Douglas Barden and his wife, Roslyn Barden were awarded $7.25 million; David Etheridge and his wife, Darlene Etheridge were awarded $9.45 million; D’Angela McNeill was awarded $14.7 million; and William Ronning and his wife, Elizabeth Ronning. were awarded $5.9 million.
Johnson & Johnson had previously asked for a mistrial based on the trial judge striking its counsel’s closing argument from the record; after the verdict was announced, Johnson & Johnson said they intend to appeal the decision. Johnson & Johnson faces over 10,000 talc-related cancer claims in both federal and state courts. The Securities and Exchange Commission and the United States Department of Justice subpoenaed Johnson & Johnson in February for documents on talc powder safety. This followed a Reuters report published in December of 2018 entitled “Special Report: J&J knew for decades that asbestos lurked in its Baby Powder”.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer – either mesothelioma or ovarian cancer – after using talcum powder (including Johnson & Johnson’s Shower to Shower Powder, baby powder, Colgate’s Cashmere Bouquet, or Avon’s body powder products), you may have a legal claim for damages. Call Thornton Law Firm’s female mesothelioma attorneys, Leah McMorris or Leslie-Anne Taylor for a free, no obligation evaluation of your legal claim at 1-888-341-1405. Or tell us your story here. Seek legal advice immediately if you believe you may have a claim. Like all lawsuits, baby powder lawsuits must be filed within strict time limits.