After two plaintiff’s victories so far this year, healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) is hoping a new legal team can help them escape liability in the baby powder cancer lawsuits. As the fourth baby powder trial kicks off in a St. Louis courtroom, both sides have shown determination in opening arguments.
The plaintiff in the trial is Mrs. Deborah Giannecchini, who is bravely battling Stage Four ovarian cancer she believes was caused by long-term baby powder use around her groin. Mrs. Giannecchini asserts that J&J knew talc particles could travel into the ovaries and cause ovarian cancer, but that the company failed to warn her and other consumers in an effort to protect its popular brand of baby powder products.
Lawyers for J&J wasted no time trying to discredit the more than 20 epidemiological studies showing a link between the talc in its products and ovarian cancer. In J&J’s opening statement, lawyers for the company insisted the product was safe.
Mrs. Giannecchini’s attorney stressed to the jury that the trial “goes beyond Ms. Giannecchini. It affects thousands of women.” The attorney was referring to the thousands of talcum powder cases currently pending against J&J, and lawyers for the company immediately objected to the statement, but were quickly overruled.
J&J believes the thousands of talc cases pending against it were improperly consolidated in Missouri, and has tried to separate any liability it will experience in this trial from the thousands of other cases.
A judge has denied two transfer motions from J&J to remove cases in Missouri state court to federal court, one of which occurred just one week before the fourth trial commenced.
The current talc trial is anticipated to last three to four weeks, and despite J&J’s efforts it will have huge implications for thousands of baby powder cancer lawsuits pending in both state and federal courts around the country.