Fourth J&J Talc-Ovarian Cancer Trial Starts

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Public Health Watchdog Breaking News
Public Health Watchdog Breaking News

J&J Talcum Powder Cancer Lawsuits

Another trial brought against Johnson & Johnson over it baby powder products was scheduled to begin on February 6, 2017 in the State Court of Missouri, St. Louis County. Allegations include that J&J neglected to advice the public concerning dangers associated with its talcum powder products and potential links to ovarian cancer. More than 60 women and their family are scheduled to begin trial in the 22nd Circuit Court in St. Louis, where juries have returned large verdicts of $55, $70, and $72 million, respectively.

Recently, the Missouri Court of Appeals denied J&J’s bid to delay the upcoming trials on the grounds that the court had no jurisdiction, because most of the 1,350 plaintiffs are not residents of Missouri. Chief Judge Angela T. Quigless denied the motion in January. A lawyer involved in the case noted that people have a constitutional right to bring a case in any jurisdiction and that St. Louis was chosen for a number of talc-related claims as it is a central location for the women who are ill and seeking a fair, quick, and efficient hearing.

Lawsuits brought over Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder and Shower to Shower powder products allege that scientific research reveals an association between ovarian cancer and the regular, genital use of J&J’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower talcum products. Allegations include that J&J was aware of the dangers of using talcum powder in this way for decades but attempted to hide and dismiss the studies and also refused to provide warning labels on its products containing talc.

In the United States, some 24,000 woman are diagnosed with ovarian cancer annually, the fifth-leading cause of cancer death for women. Approximately 14,000 women die from talc-related ovarian cancer each year. In fact, one medical expert believes that daily use of talcum powder leads to close to 10 percent of newly reported ovarian cancer cases annually. Approximately 2,500 cases have been filed against Johnson & Johnson alleging negligence concerning its Baby Powder and Shower to Shower talc products.

Previously, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of an Alabama woman who died of ovarian cancer in 2015 when she was 62 years of age, resulted in a jury verdict of $72 million. The next lawsuit involved a 62-year-old South Dakota woman, who received $55 million in damages. The third lawsuit, which ended in October 2016, involved a 63-year-old California woman who was awarded $70 million.

The product liability attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP have decades of experience representing clients in lawsuits over allegedly defective or dangerous products. The firm, which regularly provides talcum powder lawsuit updates, continues to offer free legal consultations to individuals with questions about filing a talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuit.

J&J’s Fourth Talcum Powder-Ovarian Cancer Lawsuit Reveals Previously Hidden Data

The new case against Johnson & Johnson, being heard in the 22nd Judicial Court in Missouri over the association between ovarian cancer and talc has begun. The plaintiff, a 56-year-old Tennessee woman, used J&J powder for more than 30 years and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2013. She alleges that J&J hid data from researchers and scientists and that the data proves that J&J powder, when applied to the female genitals may be easily absorbed internally, causing the powder to migrate to the ovaries, causing cancer. The plaintiff further alleges that J&J continued to maintain is brand status and protect profits rather than disclose life-saving information.

According to Law360, talcum powder lobbyists’ work to disrupt regulators attempting to classify talcum powder as a carcinogen in 2000 was successful, jurors in the Missouri trial were just advised on the first day of testimony.

Two-hour long depositions were taken of a J&J products category manager and a representative from Luzenac America. Luzenac was previously owned by mining company, Rio Tinto from 1988 to 2011 and is the precursor of the co-defendant Imerys Talc America. During the first day of testimony, plaintiff attorneys argued that Luzenac and the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association (CTFA)—an industry lobbyist group—were able to cease significant regulator concerns by lobbying intensively. The lobbying followed the National Toxicology Program’s (NTP) nominating talc in 2000 as a substance to be potentially included on its carcinogen inventory—the Report on Carcinogens (RoC).

Meanwhile, an internal Luzenac PowerPoint presentation indicated that an NTP listing would lead to an immediate $10 million-per-year loss. A CTFA staffer sent an immediate all points bulletin to the group’s Talc Task Force o the same day that the NTP first publicly targeted talc. At the same time, the NTP had overwhelmingly voted to list talc as a substance on the RoC, according to Law360. The next step—scheduled for two months later—was a final NTP Board of Scientific Counselors committee vote, according to an internal presentation by Luzenac health and safety head Steve Jarvis that was shown during Luzenac’s representative’s deposition. By the time the vote was scheduled, the talc industry had exerted enough strength to stop the listing.

Jarvis bragged about “our secret weapon, [to] engage the services of the Washington-based Center for Regulatory Effectiveness,” the document indicated. “We also became very aggressive in our communication with NTP and other federal agencies. [We] didn’t let the windows of ‘formal comment periods’ become restrictive. We sent emails, faxes, overnight letters, and even telephone calls to key players in this battle … right up until hours before the final executive committee meeting,” Jarvis’ speaking notes indicated. “We achieved a very dramatic turnaround,” he added: The BSC committee voted 7-3 against listing talc, and the NTP quietly delayed its review, Law360 reported.

During the deposition for J&J’s products category manager, a plaintiffs’ attorney conducting the deposition heavily discussed Rio Tinto materials safety data sheet that came out of the classification in 2006 by the International Agency on Research for Cancer (IARC), an agency of the World Health Organization (WHO), and specifically, of how perineal talc use is a possible carcinogen, according to Law360.

Once IARC made its determination, it set off a rush in the industry. In fact, Luzenac’s then-director of product safety revealed in a March 2006 email—this, as Luzenac was deciding whether or not to add a warning to its Material Safety Data Sheet—how frightened the firms should be, writing “Just meeting the regulatory requirements is not a sufficient defense in product liability lawsuits,” according to Law360. In another document shown during trial, Alfred Wehner of the Academy of Toxicological Science and a consultant on retainer to J&J, wrote in a 1997 letter to J&J’s preclinical toxicology head that two statements made by the CTFA were lies. In 1992, the CTFA put out a release saying talc posed no risk. Wehner wrote that this statement is “outright false.” Wehner also wrote in a 1994 statement that study results concluding the research found data “insufficient to demonstrate any real association” as “also inaccurate, to phrase it euphemistically.” CTFA is now known as the Personal Care Products Council.

Questions about Talcum Powder Lawsuits?

If you or someone you know wants to learn more about filing a talcum powder lawsuit, contact the personal injury attorneys at Parker Waichman today. Our firm offers free, no-obligation case evaluations. For more information, fill out our online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).