Deborah Giannecchini has waited patiently for her day in court against healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J). She is fiercely battling an ovarian cancer diagnosis, and time is running out for her to see the company held responsible for its failure to disclose the link between baby powder use and ovarian cancer. In a desperate move by J&J, the company asked a Missouri judge to remove Ms. Giannecchini’s baby powder trial to a federal court, effectively postponing her case for several more months. U.S District Judge Jean C. Hamilton scheduled a hearing to take place today to consider J&J’s motion to move the case.
This move seems particularly callous for a number of reasons. Although Ms. Giannecchini is valiantly battling her cancer, her attorneys are worried she will not live long enough to see a trial if it is postponed several months. This was the case in the second baby powder cancer lawsuit to go to trial this past February. Plaintiff Jacqueline Fox sadly succumbed to her cancer just before her trial was scheduled to begin.
It also seems to be a desperate ploy stretching the boundaries of the legal system. Plaintiffs have pointed out that removal of a case from state courts to federal courts generally must take place within a year of the initial date of filing. Ms. Giannecchini’s lawsuit has been pending since June 2014.
Back in 2014, J&J did try to have the case removed to a federal court but the motion was denied. Many wonder if J&J filed for removal this time not intending to succeed, but only to postpone the case. Regardless of the judge’s decision whether or not to grant removal, this move will have severe consequences for the company. Previous baby powder trials have thrust J&J’s gross negligence into the spotlight, turning off many consumers to the company’s products. This latest move will surely impact the company’s image and damage its reputation.
Jury selection for Ms. Giannecchini’s case is scheduled to begin on September 26, provided J&J is not granted a removal.