With thousands of baby powder cancer lawsuits lining up against Johnson & Johnson (J&J), the company has been desperately trying to mitigate damage. With the fourth baby powder trial is underway, J&J is trying to get additional cases moved to a new jurisdiction where it believes a judge will deliver a more favorable outcome.
Earlier this month, a New Jersey judged dismissed two lawsuits against the company, and the company has filed a transfer motion for 18 federally filed lawsuits to be moved to New Jersey. The company claims New Jersey courts are “most familiar with the issues,” but the underlying motive is to get more lawsuits dismissed by the same judge who dismissed two lawsuits earlier this month.
If J&J thinks this will alleviate the baby powder lawsuit burden, it’s dead wrong. The plaintiffs in the dismissed cases are planning to appeal the ruling, and the company is still facing as many as 3,500 baby powder lawsuits nationwide. This includes a large number in California that could be consolidated to help the efficiency of the cases.
In addition to thousands of pending lawsuits, it is anticipated the baby powder litigation will continue to grow to astronomical numbers, possibly doubling or tripling. J&J stated they plan on fighting each baby powder lawsuit, but this doesn’t seem like a realistic plan, particularly because the company has already lost two baby powder trials with multimillion dollar verdicts.
J&J might consider changing its plan to fight every baby powder lawsuit depending on the outcome of the fourth trial. Juries have not been persuaded by the company’s arguments thus far, and another plaintiff verdict could force the company to throw in the towel. Plaintiffs in Canada, who have filed a class action against the company, are closely watching the baby powder lawsuits. The outcome of the American lawsuits could have profound implications for international lawsuits, as well.