Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has desperately tried to transfer state court baby powder lawsuits into the federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) in New Jersey where the company believes the court may be more favorable, but this hasn’t stopped new lawsuits from being filed in state courts around the country. One of the largest baby powder litigations in state court is in California where cases are being coordinated in a Los Angeles court. Other states are following suit, including Delaware where ten baby powder lawsuits are currently pending against J&J.
The plaintiffs in the Delaware baby powder cancer cases asked a Delaware Supreme Court Judge to grant the cases coordination. This would allow the lawsuits and any other additional baby powder lawsuits filed in Delaware to share some proceedings that would help speed up the process to resolution.
Delaware baby powder lawsuits allege long-term use of J&J’s baby powder products around the groin caused women to develop ovarian cancer, a side effect of which they were never warned. While J&J continues to maintain its products are safe, four separate juries have determined the company should have warned consumers about the cancer risk. Three trials resulted in multimillion-dollar verdicts for the plaintiffs.
Research linking baby powder to ovarian cancer has existed for over 40 years. Baby powder contains a mineral called talc, which was found deeply embedded in ovarian tumors by British researchers in 1971. Since this initial discovery, more than 22 epidemiological studies confirmed the link between the talc in baby powder and ovarian cancer.
Talc is used in baby powder because of its moisture absorbing properties, but it is not the only product that can be used in this way. Some types of baby powder use cornstarch to absorb moisture, which is just as effective, and J&J even sells a cornstarch-based baby powder. However, the company refuses to remove talc from its baby powder products or to provide an adequate warning label.