Johnson & Johnson continues to be targeted by plaintiffs claiming that use of the company’s talcum powder products can contribute to ovarian cancer. Court records indicate that 10 of the most recent cases were filed on a single day last month in Delaware Superior Court, where plaintiffs have also asked for a coordinated docket to oversee the claims.
According to a report published by HarrisMartin.com, all 10 talcum powder lawsuits were filed on October 28th on behalf of women who were diagnosed with ovarian cancer following years of genital talcum powder use. In addition to Johnson & Johnson, Imerys Talc America Inc., and the Personal Care Products Council are named as defendants.
More than 2,000 similar lawsuits are currently pending in courts around the U.S. The creation of a centralized docket in Delaware would allow Johnson & Johnson talcum powder cases filed in the state’s courts to undergo coordinated discovery and motion practice, thereby preserving the resources of the Court, parties and witnesses involved in the lawsuits.
So far, coordinated talcum powder litigations are underway in Missouri’s 22nd Circuit Court of St. Louis, New Jersey’s Atlantic County Superior Court, and the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey. All of the complaints accuse Johnson & Johnson of failing to provide consumers with adequate warnings regarding the alleged association between talcum powder and ovarian cancer, even though numerous studies published since the early 1970s have pointed to such a link. Plaintiffs further charge that the company’s failure to warn was motivated by a desire to spare profits derived from its Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower franchises.
Juries in Missouri have already ordered Johnson &Johnson to pay nearly $200 million in compensatory and punitive damages to talcum powder plaintiffs. Just last month, one such plaintiff was awarded $70 million at the conclusion of her trial. Two other Missouri trials concluded earlier this year, resulting in awards of $72 million and $55 million for the plaintiffs involved in those cases.
According to a report from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Johnson & Johnson’s poor showing in St. Louis recently prompted its attorneys to seek dismissal of the claims pending there, which would force plaintiffs to refile in another jurisdiction.