High-Stakes Talcum Powder Trial Postponed Several Days

Published on February 9, 2017 by Sandy Liebhard

Missouri’s fourth talcum powder trial involving ovarian cancer has been postponed a few days, after the plaintiff’s attorney fell ill. According to a report from CVN.com, a new jury will be selected for the case, and opening statements could begin as early as today.

Missouri’s 22nd Judicial Circuit Court in St. Louis houses one of several litigations established for ovarian cancer lawsuits involving Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower talc-based powders. Nationwide, the company faces more than 2,000 similar lawsuits, all of which were filed on behalf of women who allegedly developed ovarian cancer due to the long-term, daily use of talcum powder for feminine hygiene purposes.

Last year, the Missouri litigation convened three talcum powder trials, all of which concluded with multimillion dollar verdicts for plaintiffs. The upcoming trial is being closely watched to see if Johnson & Johnson can end its string of losses.

This latest case was filed on behalf of a 56-year-old woman who had used Johnson & Johnson talcum powders for more than 36 years prior to her ovarian cancer diagnoses. Like other plaintiffs involved in the litigation, she accuses the healthcare products company  of ignoring mounting evidence, including studies published as early as the 1970s, that suggest the regular, repeated genital application of talc-based powders increases  a woman’s risk for ovarian cancer. She further claims that the company was driven to protect profits from its talcum powder franchises, and deliberately omitted warnings from their labels.

Nationwide Talcum Powder Litigation

Around 1,000 talcum powder lawsuits are now pending in the Missouri proceeding. Last October, the jury hearing evidence in the state’s third trial awarded $70 million in compensatory and punitive damage to an ovarian cancer victim who had used Baby Powder on a daily basis for more than 40 years. Two other Missouri trials concluded last year, resulting in awards of $72 million and $55 million for the plaintiffs involved in those cases.

Additional ovarian cancer cases have been consolidated in a federal multidistrict litigation established last year in the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey.  On the state level, talcum powder litigations are underway in New Jersey’s Atlantic Superior Court and Los Angeles Superior Court in California. Earlier this month, the judge overseeing the California talcum powder litigation scheduled its first trial for July 3, 2017. The lawsuit selected for trial was filed on behalf of a woman who is not expected to live more than six months. Her attorneys had made a motion for trial preference.


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