The federal court overseeing dozens of talcum powder ovarian cancer claims has suspended a filing deadline for motions to dismiss. According to an Order issued in the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, on December 22nd, a new deadline and briefing schedules will be addressed at the proceeding’s next Case Management Conference.
The District of New Jersey currently houses more than 80 talcum powder lawsuits, all of which were filed on behalf of women who allegedly developed ovarian cancer as a result of using Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based powders for feminine hygiene purposes. According to the Court’s December 22nd Order, two other defendants, Imerys Talc America Inc. and the Personal Care Products Council, had requested that the filing deadline for dismissal motions be suspended. Plaintiffs had consented to the request.
Johnson & Jonson is currently facing more than 2,000 claims nationwide over the alleged link between its Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower products and ovarian cancer. In October, a multidistrict litigation was established in the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, to allow all federally-filed claims of this nature to undergo coordinated pretrial proceedings. Centralized talcum powder litigations are also underway in a number of state courts, including Missouri, California, and New Jersey’s Atlantic County Superior Court.
Plaintiffs pursuing talcum powder lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson claim that the company was motivated by profit to ignore evidence suggesting that the regular and repeated application of talc-based powders to the female genitals contributes to the development of ovarian cancer. Their complaints cite numerous studies published as early as the 1970s that point to such a link, as well as internal company documents that indicate that Johnson & Johnson was aware of this research. Yet the company has failed to provide consumers with any warnings regarding this potential risk, even as it continued to market it talcum powder products to women.
Three talcum powder cases have gone to trial this year in the consolidated litigation now underway in St. Louis, Missouri. In October, a 62-year-old woman was awarded $70 million by the jury hearing her case. In May, another Missouri jury awarded $55 million to a woman who was diagnosed with ovarian and endometrial cancer in 2011, after having used Johnson & Johnson’s products for nearly 40 years. And in February, $72 million in compensatory and punitive damages were awarded to the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer following three decades of genital talc use.