The ongoing baby powder cancer trial in St. Louis, Missouri might be one of the most highly contested trials healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has faced in quite some time. The company desperately tried to postpone the baby powder trial, but the judge overseeing the proceedings made it clear the trial will see a resolution.
Just one week before jury selection began, J&J moved to remove the case from state court to federal court. This would have effectively postponed the case for several months, if not longer, but the company’s motion was denied by a St. Louis judge.
Not ready to give up the fight, J&J filed a motion for mistrial just one week into the trial’s proceedings. The company also tried additional transfer motions, but both were denied.
The company faces more than 20 epidemiological studies linking the talc in its baby powder products and ovarian cancer, in addition to damning internal documents showing the company knew about the risk but failed to warned consumers.
The company would be happy to see the case postponed because previous talcum powder trials have not gone well for J&J. The first case went to trial in 2013, and the jury found J&J guilty of gross negligence in its failure to warn consumers of the cancer risk. The second and third trials occurred this year and awarded multimillion-dollar verdicts to the plaintiffs. Because of the widespread use of baby powder, J&J could potentially face tens of thousands of lawsuits, and the outcome of this fourth trial will pivotal for plaintiffs seeking compensation for their injuries.
If the fourth trial concludes with another multimillion-dollar verdict for the plaintiff, the company might consider settling the rest of its lawsuits. The trial is anticipated to take one to two more weeks before the jury begins to deliberate.