Baby Powder Lawsuits From Eight States Before JPML
11 Talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuits from around the country are included in a motion to transfer filed before the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation.
Thursday, August 25, 2016 - The motion to transfer Johnson & Johnson's baby powder lawsuits that was filed before the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) listed 11 claims filed in eight different states from around the country. The motion to transfer was filed on July 15 by Tanashiska Lumas and included talcum powder lawsuits from California, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. The JPML will listen to arguments in support and opposition to the motion to transfer at the panel's next hearing session on September 29 in Washington D.C.
There are currently more than 1,200 talcum powder lawsuits spread throughout the country claiming that Johnson & Johnson did not do enough to warn consumers of the ovarian risk associated with their baby powder products. Though there are only 11 in the motion to transfer, the potential for hundreds of additional baby powder lawsuits to join the MDL will open if the JPML rules to consolidate the proceedings. The talc litigation is one of the fastest growing in the country, with baby powder cancer lawyers claiming to have received thousands of prospective claims that still require reviewal. A consolidated into multidistrict litigation will likely only increase the growth of the proceedings.
Johnson & Johnson has filed a response to the motion to transfer, stating that they do prefer the baby powder ovarian cancer lawsuits consolidated, but would rather they be transferred to the District of New Jersey federal court instead of the original plaintiff's request of the Southern District of Illinois. There have been a number of locations put forth by parties that have responded to the motion to transfer, including a group of plaintiffs that have lobbied for the MDL to be centralized in the Middle District of Georgia.
The JPML will make the ultimate ruling on where the MDL will be centralized, if the panel approves its transfer. There are many considerations that go into where to centralize an MDL, especially with the talcum powder lawsuits scattered throughout the country. The proximity to plaintiffs, defendants and evidence pertinent to the case plays a large role in the decision, as does the schedule of the court the proceedings may be headed to. If a court has a notably over scheduled docket, a less busy location may be selected for centralization.
Not all parties are in support of the motion to transfer however, as some plaintiffs feel that the litigation has progressed far enough in a number of cases to negate the advantages of multidistrict litigation. Those that do not support the consolidation of the talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuits note that the 11 claims listed in the motion to transfer are not enough to necessitate multidistrict litigation. The talcum powder attorneys representing these plaintiffs would prefer that the claims be resolved before federal courts in the original districts they were filed.
The talcum powder cancer lawsuits stretch far beyond the eight states listed in the motion to transfer, and it is likely that the proceedings as a whole will benefit from multidistrict litigation. The JPML will hear arguments from all side regarding the potential transfer on September 29 and likely issue their response determining the fate of the centralization within a month of the hearing session.