Centralization of Talcum Powder Litigation May Speed Up Process

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Public Health Watchdog Breaking News
Public Health Watchdog Breaking News

On July 15, an application has been filed with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) which seeks the centralization of all federally-filed ovarian cancer claims in a single court in order to coordinate pretrial proceedings. At least 11 product liability claims concerning talcum powder and ovarian cancer have to date been filed in 10 federal jurisdictions. The consolidation motion asserts that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois “would permit convenient travel for the parties and counsel as compared to travel to the East or West Coast,” reports Business News.

“The Johnson & Johnson (J&J) talcum powder litigation already exceeds 1,200 cases on the state level. The federal docket also has the potential to be large, and would likely benefit from centralization, as coordinated pretrial proceedings would eliminate duplicate discovery and inconsistent court ruling,” states a representative of victims of defective medical devices, drugs, and consumer products. Allegedly, women were diagnosed with ovarian cancer after years of regular use of talc-based products for feminine hygiene purposes.

Claims of repeated application of Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower products to the genital area can increase a woman’s risk for ovarian cancer. Talc particles allegedly can make their way into the vagina and migrate to the ovaries, where over time, the accumulating talc can result in the sort of inflammation that promotes the growth of cancer cells. Since the 1970s, a number of studies have implied that J&J failed to take any steps to warn women of this possible risk.

Over 1,200 talcum powder lawsuits have been filed against J&J with centralized litigations underway in St. Louis, Missouri, and New Jersey Superior Court. A St. Louis jury awarded $55 million in compensatory and punitive damages to an ovarian cancer victim who used J&J’s talc-based powders for almost 40 years as part of her feminine hygiene regimen. Another Missouri trial in February, ended with an award of $72 million for the family in a similar case, according to Business News.