JPML Schedules Oral Arguments for Talc Powder Lawsuits, Taxotere Hair Loss Claims And More

Published on August 15, 2016 by Sandy Liebhard

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation is schedule d to convene a Hearing Session next month in Washington, D.C. At that time, the Panel will hear Oral Arguments on motions to centralize all federally-filed Taxotere hair loss claims, as well as ovarian cancer lawsuits involving Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products.

The session is scheduled to begin at 8:00 a.m. on September 29th at the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse. Oral Arguments will commence at 9:30 a.m.

Taxotere Litigation

According to a Hearing Session Order issued by the JPML on August 11th, more than 30 Taxotere lawsuits are currently pending in at least 16 different federal courts. All of the cases were filed in behalf of plaintiffs who allegedly experienced permanent alopecia following chemotherapy with the Sanofi-Aventis drug. Among other things, the complaints charge that Sanofi wrongly led the medical community and the public to believe that, as is the case with other chemotherapy drugs that cause alopecia, patients’ hair would grow back.

Centralization of federal Taxotere hair loss claims was proposed by plaintiffs in July, and they have suggested that the docket be transferred to a single judge in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District o Louisiana.

Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer

The Hearing Session Order also notes that Johnson & Johnson is facing at least 11 talcum powder lawsuits filed on behalf of women who allegedly developed ovarian cancer due to their use of the company’s Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower products for feminine hygiene purposes. The litigation is currently scattered across ten federal courts. However, a motion filed by one plaintiff has proposed that the federal docket be centralized in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Illinois.

Johnson & Johnson and other defendants agree that it would be beneficial to centralize all federally-filed talc powder ovarian cancer claims. However, they have proposed that the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, or the U.S. District Court, Western District of Oklahoma, be selected as the venue for the proceeding.

Other MDLs under Consideration

During the September 29th Hearing Session, the JPML will also hear Oral Arguments regarding the centralization of Essure birth control coils and Abilify lawsuits, among others. Court documents indicate that at least 30 federal product liability claims have been filed on behalf of more than 1,000 women who allegedly sustained serious injuries due to the Essure coils. Plaintiffs have asked the JPML to centralize the federal docket in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, where three of the cases are pending.

The Abilify litigation currently includes at least 26 cases pending in a dozen federal jurisdictions, all of which were filed on behalf of patients who allegedly developed gambling addictions and other compulsive behaviors due to their use of the antipsychotic medications. Both plaintiffs and defendants have proposed that the docket be centralized in the U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida.

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