Missouri Talcum Powder Trials to Go Forward, After Judge Finds State Can Hear Non-Resident Ovarian Cancer Lawsuits

Published on January 9, 2017 by Sandy Liebhard

A Missouri judge has denied Johnson & Johnson’s bid to delay upcoming trials in the state’s massive talcum powder litigation. According to a report from Law360.com, the company had argued that Missouri does not have jurisdiction over non-resident claims, which make up the majority of the litigation.

Court records indicate that more 1,300 talcum powders are now pending in Missouri’s 22nd Circuit Court in St. Louis, all of which were filed on behalf of women who allegedly developed ovarian cancer due to their use of Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower talc-based powders. The state’s next trial, which involves 60 women, is scheduled to begin on February 5th. That is to be followed by five other trials.

What is the Talcum Powder Litigation About?

Plaintiffs pursuing talcum powder lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson claim that the regular and repeated use of the company’s products for feminine hygiene purposes can contribute to the development of ovarian cancer. Many of the cases pending in Missouri and elsewhere involve women who made Johnson & Johnson talcum powders a part of their daily feminine hygiene routine for decades prior to their diagnosis. They claim that Johnson & Johnson deliberately marketed its Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower products for this purpose, in spite of numerous studies that have linked the long-term such products to an increased risk ovarian cancer.

Last year, Missouri convened three talcum powder trials, all of which ended in massive, multi-million dollar verdicts for plaintiffs. In each case, claimants were awarded both compensatory and punitive damages.

The talcum powder litigation is not limited to Missouri, as Johnson & Johnson faces more than 2,500 ovarian cancer claims in courts around the country. According to Law360.com, the nationwide docket includes more than 900 lawsuits that have been centralized in Los Angeles Superior Court in California, as well as an additional 200 claims that are part of a multicounty litigation underway in New Jersey’s Atlantic County Superior Court.

In October, all federally-filed Johnson & Johnson talcum powder lawsuits were centralized in the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey. Just over 80 cases are currently pending in the federal proceeding.

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