Talcum Powder Cancer Lawsuit

A Federal Judge Devastates Johnson & Johnson's Claims That Plaintiffs Rely on Junk Science

A Judge presiding over 12,000 cases consolidated in multi-district litigation has ruled that experts can testify that asbestos-contaminated talc can enter the ovaries through the vagina

Thursday, May 7, 2020 - A Federal Judge in New Jersey may have dealt a knock-out blow to Johnson & Johnson's counter-claims that their iconic brand Johnson's Baby Powder is pure, safe, and asbestos-free. In a move that Law.com calls "Obliterating J&J's Defense of 'Junk Science' in Talc Trials, U.S. District Judge Freda Wolfson, who is overseeing the talcum powder multidistrict litigation against Johnson & Johnson, found that five plaintiffs' experts, two of whom have testified before Congress on talcum powder safety, could appear before juries." Talcum powder cancer lawsuits claims continue to rise and with over 20,000 claims filed and more claims are expected to be filed in the future.

Daubert hearings were conducted over 8 consecutive days in July 2019 when one by one, expert witnesses described their scientific methods of testing talc for the presence of asbestos, a known carcinogenic, and other scientific factors. These researcher's findings were described by Johnson& Johnson's defense attorneys as producing "junk science" but Judge Wolfson disagreed. One witness, Dr. Daniel Clarke-Pearson, a gynecological oncologist and professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, testified that "the use of talcum powder products, including those manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, when applied to the female perineum, is a causative factor in the development of epithelial ovarian cancer, and that he estimated that there was an overall increase in ovarian cancer risk by 20-60%." Another witness, Georgia-based microscope researcher Dr. William Longo, told lawmakers that the LSM method of testing for asbestos, is "2100 to 3100 times more sensitive than those used by industry and the FDA contract laboratory. Using HLS approximately 65% of the cosmetic talc samples we have analyzed, have been positive for amphibole asbestos."

The ruling is the first in which a federal judge has ruled on the scientific evidence in talc trials." The judge not only will allow juries to hear expert scientific testimony on behalf of plaintiffs, but also will allow the line of reasoning that particles of talc that could contain cancer-causing asbestos may travel into a woman's vagina when used for feminine hygiene, up through the fallopian tubes, and become permanently lodged in the ovaries causing inflammation leading to ovarian cancer. So devastating is the Judges's ruling, impacting more than 12,000 cases in multi-district litigation, that some experts feel that the US Food and Drug Administration may force the liquid separation method (LSM) of talc testing, one much more likely to find asbestos fibers, on the entire cosmetics industry. Johnson & Johnson had sought the hail-mary tactic of asking a judge to dismiss over 12,000 suits against them that claimed Johnson's Baby Powder could cause ovarian cancer, in one motion, however, the opposite happened. The company will probably seek to settle the cases with attorneys representing thousands of clients rather than face losing tens of billions of dollars in punitive jury awards if the cases do go to court as planned.

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OnderLaw, LLC is a St. Louis personal injury law firm handling serious injury and death claims across the country. Its mission is the pursuit of justice, no matter how complex the case or strenuous the effort. The Onder Law Firm has represented clients throughout the United States in pharmaceutical and medical device litigation such as Pradaxa, Lexapro and Yasmin/Yaz, where the firm's attorneys held significant leadership roles in the litigation, as well as Actos, DePuy, Risperdal and others. The firm has represented thousands of persons in these and other products liability litigation, including DePuy hip replacement systems, which settled for $2.5 billion and Pradaxa internal bleeding, which settled for $650 million. The Onder Law Firm won over $300 million in four talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuits in St. Louis to date and other law firms throughout the nation often seek its experience and expertise on complex litigation.

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