Johnson & Johnson (J&J) is facing more than 1,000 lawsuits regarding the talc in its baby powder products. Of these cases, nearly 200 have been filed in New Jersey state court, with the first case set to go to trial this October.
The plaintiffs in the first case set for trial are New Jersey residents Brandi and Joel Carl. Ms. Carl used J&J’s baby powder “for nearly her entire life,” and as a result developed ovarian cancer. The plaintiffs look to hold J&J responsible for gross negligence in the company’s failure to warn.
Although the trial has yet to begin, the litigation is already heating up. This past August, an admissibility hearing was held to determine whether or not the plaintiffs’ expert witnesses would be allowed to testify.
Lawyers for J&J believe the plaintiffs’ expert witnesses have opinions that “conflict with governmental agencies, scientific organizations, and medical institutions.” This statement echoes the same defense the company has unsuccessfully used in three previous trials – that talc is safe and there is plenty of large clinical trial data to support its safety.
But plaintiffs aren’t buying what J&J is selling. The plaintiffs point out that the company already tried to eliminate expert testimony in order to throw out three separate cases and was denied. It is likely the plaintiffs’ expert witnesses will testify, but a decision remains forthcoming.
Jury selection for the trial is scheduled to begin on October 11th with the trial set to start shortly thereafter.
Baby Powder Lawsuits
To date, three baby powder lawsuits have gone to trial. The first was in 2013 and the last two occurred this past February and May. In all three cases, J&J was found negligent for failing to warn patients of the link between the talc in its products and ovarian cancer.