J&J Facing Lawsuits Over Talcum Powder. Johnson & Johnson (J&J) is facing dozens of talcum powder lawsuits filed on behalf of women who allegedly developed ovarian cancer due to regular and repeated use of the company’s talc products. The lawsuits are proceeding in a multidistrict (MDL) litigation currently underway in the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, with U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson presiding.
An MDL is frequently established to make complex litigation more efficient. Lawsuits with similar allegations are consolidated to one court before one judge to eliminate duplicate discovery, save time, resources and streamline the legal process.
Product Liability Claims
In a recent filing with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), J&J reported that it has been named a defendant in a minimum of 3,100 product liability claims that involve its talc-based powder products and ovarian cancer. As of February 15, there were 134 cases pending in the MDL litigation underway in the District of New Jersey.
The plaintiffs involved in the talcum powder lawsuits against J&J allege that the regular and repeated use of Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower talc-based powders contributed to the development of ovarian cancer. The plaintiffs accuse the company of purposely ignoring research that goes back as far as the 1970s that suggests this link. In 1971, research scientists in Wales found particles of talc embedded in ovarian and cervical tumors. The plaintiffs also maintain that J&J’s failure to alert consumers of this risk was driven by the motivation to protect financial gains from the sale of its talcum powder products.
Four cases have already gone to trial in one of the nation’s largest talcum powder litigations in Missouri’s 22nd Circuit Court in St. Louis. Only one jury out of the four has found in favor of Johnson & Johnson. Plaintiffs in the other three were awarded compensatory and punitive damages that amounted to $72 million, $70 million, and $55 million. A fifth talcum powder trial in Missouri is slated to begin in April.
Parker Waichman product liability attorneys have extensive experience representing clients in lawsuits over allegedly dangerous or defective products. The firm regularly provides updates regarding talcum powder lawsuits and is available to answer questions to individuals seeking information about filing a talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuit.
What is Talc?
Talc is made up of magnesium and silicon and is a clay mineral. It is known for its softness and is prevalently used in cosmetics. It absorbs moisture, prevents caking and is often used in the genital area, as part of a feminine hygiene regimen. It is also an additive in tablets, some rice, and chewing gum.
Talc is frequently mined close to asbestos, a known carcinogen, and manufacturers must use extreme care to avoid contamination. Asbestos is in some talc products and is a substance that has been associated to cancers in and around the lungs when inhaled, according to the American Cancer Society.
J&J’s talc-based products are classified as cosmetics, and therefore, are not in the category to submit to a review or approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), according to BioSpace.com. A report in May 2016 said that genital use of powder among African-American women is connected to a 44 percent increased risk for epithelial ovarian cancer, reports the New York Times.
Talcum Powder Lawsuit Allegations
Talcum powder lawsuits allege that use of talcum powder in the genital area can increase the risk of ovarian cancer by maintaining that the fine talc particles can travel up the female reproductive tract. Plaintiffs support these claims by citing studies done in the 1970s where talc particles were found embedded in ovarian tumors. Plaintiffs also cite a 1982 study as evidence that genital use of talcum powder is linked to the development of ovarian cancer.
Ovarian cancer is an extremely aggressive cancer with a very high five-year mortality rate. Numerous plaintiffs are concerned they will not live long enough to see their day in court with Johnson & Johnson.
Class action lawsuits are also being filed over talcum powder ovarian cancer claims, according to court documents. One complaint represents 81 plaintiffs who allege “unreasonably dangerous and defective nature of talcum powder and [Johnson & Johnson’s] wrongful and negligent conduct in the research, development, testing, manufacture, production, promotion, distribution, marketing, and sale of talcum powder.”
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