First Baby Powder Lawsuit MDL Conference Scheduled
The first conference in the newly created Johnson & Johnson's baby powder lawsuits MDL will take place on November 17.
Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - The multidistrict litigation regarding talcum powder lawsuits that was created on October 4th will hold its first organizational conference on November 17. The MDL is being heard in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey before Judge Freda L. Wolfson, and in the order the judge requested that both sides have their status reports regarding the litigation submitted by November 10. The organizational conference is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., though the order acknowledges that all the talcum powder attorneys involved may not be able to attend.
The order noted that there are now 37 associated actions in the MDL, which is up from the original 11 included in the motion to transfer. This rise is likely from tag-along actions that were mentioned in the panel order which consolidated the lawsuits, and it is expected that hundreds more could potentially join the litigation. There are more than 1,200 talcum powder cancer lawsuits currently pending around the nation, with most of them filed in federal court where they would be eligible to join the MDL.
The status reports that the judge requested be entered before the first organizational conference will give an overview of what stage that particular talcum powder attorney's case is in in its home district. The information to be divulged in the status report includes the discovery that has taken place and what stage it is in, if a settlement has been discussed, if there are any pending motions before the court, potential counsel suggestions, and if there are any agenda items they wish to be added to the organizational conference agenda.
The Johnson & Johnson's baby powder lawsuits at the heart of the MDL stem from hundreds of claims filed around the country alleging that the health care company was aware of a link between their talcum powder products and an increased risk for ovarian cancer, but failed to warn consumers of the connection. More than 20 different medical studies have discovered a link between ovarian cancer and talcum powder when used regularly by women for vaginal hygiene. The company even elected to employ marketing messages that encouraged the use of the cosmetic daily to boost female genital hygiene.
Plaintiffs claim in talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuits that the company should have alerted them to the information that was available detailing the link between ovarian cancer and talcum powder use, and are responsible for their being diagnosed with cancer as a result. Two plaintiffs have already taken the health care company to trial this year, with both parties receiving a favorable decision from the court and receiving a combined $127 million in damages.
The MDL that was created on October 4th for the litigation will consolidate the pretrial proceedings and coordinate discovery and litigative efforts for all parties involved in the proceedings. With thousands of potential plaintiffs still inquiring with law firms about the possibility of filing charges, this MDL could balloon in the coming months, especially if an ongoing trial in St. Louis turns out favorable for the plaintiff.