Johnson & Johnson has lost several high-profile cases that have alleged that the use of its talcum powder is linked to ovarian cancer. These are just a handful of the roughly 15,000 lawsuits that the company is facing in courts throughout the country. Now, the first talcum powder liability lawsuit of this type is going to trial in Georgia. Observers are waiting to see if the Georgia jury will reach the same result as was rendered in Missouri and California.
Talcum Powder & Asbestos
Johnson & Johnson’s talc powder is alleged to have been tainted with asbestos. There has been a scientific debate that has raged for over 40 years about the safety of this product. Talc and asbestos occur naturally next to each other in the ground. Many scientific studies have concluded that powder made from talc also has some traces of asbestos in it. When this is used outside the body, particles of the talc powder may migrate to the ovaries. Plaintiffs have argued that the elements of asbestos in the talcum powder ultimately cause women to develop ovarian cancer. The company has long denied any connection between talc powder and cancer. Johnson & Johnson has responded with studies of its own that warrant that the product is completely safe.
Baby Powder Lawsuit in Georgia
The case in Georgia was brought by the family of a 65-year old woman who died from ovarian cancer in 2016. The lawsuit claims that she was a regular user of Johnson & Johnson’s talc powder. In fact, the lawsuit stated that she had used talc powder for over 50 years, beginning when she was 12 years old. After 50 years of usage, she was diagnosed with cancer. She filed lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson, as well as its talc supplier before she died. The lawsuit seeks both compensatory damages as well as punitive damages due to the fact that the company has allegedly known for decades about the possible dangers of the product yet keeps selling it to the public.
In the early part of the trial, Johnson & Johnson tried to have the judge exclude the plaintiff’s medical experts. The plaintiff had three experts who were to testify about the connection between talc powder and cancer. This testimony is critical to the plaintiff’s case, and the case would likely not succeed without it. The judge denied the company’s efforts to keep these witnesses out of court.
For the company, this trial is another chapter in a sustained legal challenge that it has been facing. Johnson & Johnson suffered a devastating loss in a Missouri court in 2018 when a jury assessed a verdict of $4.69 billion against the company. The lawsuit was brought by 22 women who all alleged that they contracted ovarian cancer after using talc powder. Much of the verdict consisted of punitive damages for the company’s behavior that the jury found objectionable. Numerous plaintiffs have been flocking to Missouri to file suits against Johnson & Johnson as a result, but the state court has cut back on the ability of non-residents to file lawsuits in Missouri courts. The company has also lost a number of other lawsuits, and the prospect of large-scale liability has put a damper on Johnson & Johnson’s share price.
What Are the Claims?
The talcum powder lawsuit in Georgia alleges that the company that supplied talc to Johnson & Johnson specifically informed it back in 2006 of the possible link between the substance and ovarian cancer. Additionally, the plaintiff claims that there are numerous other components of the talc powder that are possible carcinogens. Further, the ingredient that gives the talc powder its fragrance is also alleged to be a possible carcinogen.
After the case reaches a verdict, the attorney representing the plaintiffs has half a dozen other cases that are pending in state courts in Georgia. There are also several cases in federal court in the state. Johnson & Johnson has tried several times to have this case removed to federal court from the state court. The company has tried this with thousands of pending cases since there is a higher risk that a state court jury may assess it with a large punitive damages verdict. However, the company has been unsuccessful in these efforts.
The large multi-district litigation is in federal court in New Jersey. The cases are currently in the process of discovery. There was recently a crucial hearing in the federal case in which the court examined whether or not to admit the plaintiff’s expert scientific witnesses. Like the Georgia case, this is the key medical issue.
Plaintiffs Need Expert Legal Representation
People who have been diagnosed with cancer after long-term use of talcum powder products will need a personal injury attorney to help find compensation and justice. Our qualified claimant generation services help personal injury law firms by delivering signed talcum powder leads.
Call Broughton Partners today at (912)-304-444 for your free consultation. Together we can ensure there is No Claimant without a Claim.
- Neural IT. “Georgia’s First Talcum Ovarian Cancer Trial Is Set To Begin”, Neural IT, https://www.neuralit.com/news/2019-aug-30/georgias-first-talcum-ovarian-cancer-trial-set-begin. Accessed September 10, 2019.
- Arlin Crisco. “Georgia Trial to Begin Against J&J Over Claim Cosmetic Talc Caused Deadly Ovarian Cancer”, CVN, https://blog.cvn.com/georgia-trial-to-begin-against-jj-over-claim-cosmetic-talc-caused-deadly-ovarian-cancer. Accessed September 10, 2019