Talcum Powder Cancer Lawsuit

Judge Shipp Reevaluates Scientific Evidence In New Jersey's 50,000-case MDL On Talc Contamination

Both sides claim that looking deeper into the science will bolster their case

Wednesday, March 27, 2024 - The New Jersey judge presiding over about 50,000 Johnsonís Baby Powder cancer lawsuits organized into multi-district litigation (MDL) in the state has decided to take another look into the science and the scientists purporting to be experts in the subject of talc and asbestos contamination. According to Reuters, "U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp in Trenton New Jersey, who is overseeing the lawsuits that have been consolidated in his court, said recent changes in the law and new scientific evidence requires a fresh review of the evidence that linked J&J products to ovarian cancer. Shipp took over the case in February 2023, after the retirement of former Chief District Judge Freda Wolfson, who had overseen the litigation since 2016." Before the one-year pause in trials due to COVID, Judge Wolfson had held Daubert hearings and took more than 6 months to deliberate, interviewing, and approving certain expert witnesses that to this day are approved to be called by plaintiffs and the defense in Johnson's Baby Powder ovarian cancer trials.

Johnson & Johnson's defense stands primarily on the basis that it is difficult for a plaintiff with ovarian cancer to pinpoint the cause of the disease. Talcum powder ovarian cancer litigation is further complicated by Johnson & Johnson's legal maneuvers. The pharmaceutical giant has initiated lawsuits against six of the plaintiff-approved expert witnesses. The crux of J&J's argument hinges on allegations that these experts' conclusions neglect to account for alternative potential sources of asbestos exposure encountered by the study subjects. This contention underscores a broader challenge inherent in the litigation: the difficulty plaintiffs face in attributing their ovarian cancer diagnoses to a specific cause, amid a myriad of possible environmental and genetic factors.

Despite Johnson & Johnson praising the judge's decision to revisit Daubert hearings, plaintiff attorneys feel that their cases will be vindicated. " Leigh O'Dell and Michelle Parfitt, lead lawyers for plaintiffs in the federal litigation, said the scientific evidence that J&J products caused cancer is "stronger than ever." "The truth of J&J's deceptive conduct to hide the presence of carcinogens in talcum powder and mislead the medical and scientific communities has only become clearer over time," O'Dell and Parfitt said in a statement," Reuters wrote. Plaintiffs attorneys benefit by inflaming the jury's anger over decades of "reprehensible conduct" exhibited by Johnson & Johnson in trying to cover up what they knew about asbestos lurking in talc. Such anger rocked Johnson & Johnson when a Missouri jury awarded 22 women $4.9 billion, mostly punitive damages. The verdict was upheld on appeal but the award was cut in half on administrative grounds. The US Supreme Court refused to hear the case and the Missouri Court of Appeals decision stood.

The legal reexamination that is taking on in New Jersey is representative of the larger legal and scientific discussions that surround asbestos and talc contamination. The course of these legal processes provides insight into the challenges associated with proving causation in product liability lawsuits, particularly in situations when the claimed injury is the result of exposure to carcinogenic agents. The results of this litigation may have far-reaching effects on the parties involved, the regulatory environment governing consumer products, and the admissibility of scientific evidence in legal proceedings, as the legal and scientific communities come together in the courtroom.

Information provided by TalcumPowderCancerLawsuit.com, a website devoted to providing news about talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuits, as well as medical research and findings.

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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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