Johnson & Johnson (J&J) was stung by an August 2020 New Jersey court ruling that will likely lead to the reinstatement of over 1000 talcum powder cases that had previously been dismissed. The New Jersey Superior Court ruled that Atlantic County Judge Nelson Johnson incorrectly threw out testimony from plaintiffs’ experts Graham Colditz and Daniel Cramer that supports claims brought by two women that talcum powder in J&J’s iconic Baby Powder caused their ovarian cancer. The ruling asserted that the trial judge was wrong to exclude the testimony and should have instead scrutinized the methodologies behind their conclusion that talc can cause ovarian cancer since deciding credibility is a jury issue—not an issue for the judge to decide. The ruling clears the two cases for trial and will likely lead to the revival of 1000 talcum powder cases in J&J’s home state.
What Could This Mean for the Talcum Powder Litigation?
Although the ruling only directly affects two lawsuits, it will also likely impact the 1000 other state talcum powder cases on hold before the same judge. Ted Meadows, one of the lawyers representing women bringing talcum powder lawsuits said that “there are approximately 1000 ovarian cancer cases currently filed in New Jersey state court, with more to come. This ruling paves the way for those cases to proceed to trial.”
The ruling is bad news for J&J, which is headquartered in New Brunswick, New Jersey, because the company had previously tried to transfer the majority of the talcum powder litigation to the Multi-District Litigation in the District Court of New Jersey. However, the August 2020 ruling and the February 2020 New Jersey jury verdict of $750 million awarded to four plaintiffs claiming their mesothelioma was linked to use of the company’s talcum powder may quell that notion for J&J.
Johnson & Johnson’s Response
J&J’s spokeswoman Kim Montagnino commented on the ruling: “We respect the court’s decision and are fully prepared to defend the safety of our product in court. We remain confident that our talc is safe, asbestos free, and does not cause cancer.”
Additional Information on the Talcum Powder Litigation
Johnson & Johnson voluntarily discontinued sales of its talc-based baby powder in the United States and Canada in May 2020. According to J&J’s securities filings, within the past eight months the number of cases alleging that the product causes cancer has increased by 15% and the company now faces more than 20,000 talc lawsuits. Some of those lawsuits claim that the talc itself causes cancer while others claim that the alleged asbestos contamination in the talc causes cancer.
Imerys Talc America—a unit of Paris-based Imerys SA—that mined talc used in J&J’s Baby Powder was also named a defendant in many of the talcum powder lawsuits. However, the company sought bankruptcy protection from creditors last year and offered to settle more than 14,000 talc lawsuits by selling itself and other Imerys units as part of their bankruptcy agreement and put the corresponding proceeds into a trust for the plaintiffs.
How GoldenbergLaw Can Help You
When it comes to handling a talcum powder and ovarian cancer lawsuit, our team is more than qualified to take on the case. GoldenbergLaw has had years of experience with drug-related cases and has had a great amount of success throughout those years. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with talcum powder or mesothelioma after using talcum powder, contact us and get a free consultation.