Earlier this year, we mentioned that there were numerous trials scheduled against Johnson & Johnson in 2017 over many of its medical and consumer products. These trials involve people severely injured by Ethicon Pelvic Mesh, J&J Baby Powder, Xarelto, Pinnacle Hip Implants, Risperdal, Invokana, and Power Morcellators. There are tens of thousands of cases pending. Despite a number of significant verdicts in 2016 against J&J totaling almost 1 billion dollars, J&J has steadfastly refused to settle these cases or take responsibility for its actions. Well, the time of reckoning has begun. Three trials began this month. Here is a quick summary of the results:
Pelvic Mesh/Erosion of Tissue
Last week in Philadelphia, a jury awarded Peggy Engleman a $20 million verdict (including $17.5 million in punitive damages) against J&J's Ethicon unit in a pelvic mesh case. The jury found that the TVT-Secur mesh was defective in design. This mesh eroded inside of Engleman’s body, causing damage to her organs and leaving her in chronic pain. That is the third largest verdict against J&J in any mesh litigation. More trials are scheduled this year. J&J refuses to resolve this globally
The first of four bellwether trials in the Xarelto MDL in New Orleans began April 24, 2017. Joseph Boudreaux was taking Xarelto for the prevention of strokes when he suffered severe internal bleeding that required a weeklong stay in intensive care. Xarelto is a blood thinner but it is designed to have no antidote and can cause a person to bleed out. A competing medication, Warfarin, does not have this issue. Xarelto has led to 370 deaths and there are currently more than 18,000 pending cases. The trial concluded this week with a defense verdict for J&J. Three more trials are scheduled, with the next trial set to begin in May. The Boudreaux case was considered the weakest of the four bellwether cases. This litigation is far from over.
J&J Baby Powder/Ovarian Cancer
The latest in a series of talcum powder trials brought by women with ovarian cancer started on April 11, 2017. This case involved 61 year old Lois Slemp, who used J&J Baby Powder and Shower to Shower for more than four decades for feminine hygiene before she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Late last evening, the jury returned verdict of over $110 million dollars! Of this verdict, $5.4 million was awarded for compensatory damages and $105 million was for punitive damages. The jury found that J&J Baby Powder was a contributing cause of Ms. Slemp's ovarian cancer and that J&J acted with reckless disregard for Ms. Slemp's health and livelihood.
There have now been five talcum powder trials. Plaintiffs have prevailed in four of the five trials and juries have punished J&J to the tune of a whopping $307 million! Yet the company refuses to take responsibility for the safety of its customers by adamantly refusing to pull talc-based baby powder off the market despite having a safer corn starch substitute.
A five plaintiff trial will begin in St. Louis, Missouri next month. Additionally, a California Court will determine the admissibility of expert evidence for a baby powder trial starting there in July. There are over 1000 cases pending in the City of St. Louis. GoldenbergLaw has more than 140 cases filed there. We are expecting to receive trial dates in the near future.
The Jury System is the injured consumer's only alternative.
It is clear J&J's time of reckoning has arrived. Since J&J will not provide justice to the people they are severely injuring, the only remedy remains the judicial system. We can only hope that Congress does not take these rights away from injured consumers. We will keep you updated on the status of these upcoming trials.