Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Litigation Spreads to Six States, Involves Thousands of Plaintiffs

Published on April 10, 2017 by Laurie Villanueva

Ovarian cancer victims and their loved ones continue to file talcum powder lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson, with court records indicating that the litigation has now spread to  six states and the District of Columbia.

According to a Joint Status Report dated March 24th, at least 196 talcum powder lawsuits involving more than 1,000 plaintiffs are undergoing centralized pretrial proceedings in the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey.  Cllaims involving thousands of additional plaintiffs are also awaiting transfer to the proceeding.

Several state courts have created their own centralized dockets for Johnson & Johnson talcum powder lawsuits, including:

  • California, Los Angeles Superior Court (118 cases involving 472 plaintiffs)
  • Delaware Superior Court (24 cases involving more than 96 plaintiffs)
  • Missouri 22nd Circuit Court, St. Louis City (22 cases involving 1,141 plaintiffs)
  • New Jersey, Atlantic County Superior Court (201 cases)

A small number of claims have also been filed in Illinois state court and Washington D.C.

Talcum Powder Ovarian Cancer Allegations

All of the complaints pending in these proceedings were filed on behalf of women who allegedly developed ovarian cancer due to the regular and repeated use of Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based powders for feminine hygiene purposes.  Plaintiffs cite more than two dozen studies dating back to the 1970s that suggest the existence of such a link, as well as internal Johnson & Johnson documents that purportedly show that company officials were aware of this research. However, plaintiffs claim that they chose to ignore this evidence in order to protect the profits earned from Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower franchises.

Over the past year, four talcum powder trials have been convened in Missouri’s 22nd Circuit Court. So far, Johnson & Johnson has prevailed in just one of those cases. Three other trials ended with verdicts for plaintiffs, and damage awards of $55 million, $70 million and $72 million.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin this week for Missouri’s fifth trial. The case involves a plaintiff who has experienced recurrence and metastasis of Stage III(c) ovarian cancer. The talcum powder lawsuit was advanced for trial due to the plaintiff’s declining health.

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