J&J Supports MDL Request For Baby Powder Lawsuits
Johnson & Johnson filed a response in support of a plaintiff's motion to transfer talcum powder cancer lawsuits into multidistrict litigation, though noted their preference for the claims to be filed before the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.
Saturday, August 20, 2016 - Johnson & Johnson, the defendant in more than 1,200 talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuits, has filed a supportive response to a plaintiff's motion to transfer 11 lawsuits into multidistrict litigation in July. The health care company determined that consolidating the claims before a single federal judge will assist in the efficiency of proceedings going forward. However, the response to the motion to transfer disagreed with the proposed transferee forum of the South District of Illinois, preferring instead the the District of New Jersey where Johnson & Johnson is headquartered.
The response was filed a little over a month after the original motion to transfer was filed on July 15. The plaintiff is seeking to consolidate baby powder lawsuits that share common questions of fact in their allegations that Johnson & Johnson were negligent and possibly intentionally malicious in their failure to affix warning labels to their talcum powder products that had been medically linked to ovarian cancer. Johnson & Johnson has denied these claims, though they have suffered large losses in trials thus far in 2016.
Johnson & Johnson claimed that the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey is the most convenient court for the talcum powder cancer lawsuits to be transferred to because of its proximity to Johnson & Johnson's headquarters. The company claims that many of the relevant documents and witnesses are located in this district, and that the court is particularly suitable to deal with the MDL expeditiously. The response listed that the District of New Jersey has one of the quickest median times in terms of turnaround from filing to deposition and that less than seven percent of civil cases currently pending before the court are three years old. Johnson & Johnson also pointed out that the court is not currently suffering from a large caseload, noting its rank as the 39th busiest district court in the country.
If the District of New Jersey is not selected, Johnson & Johnson requested that the baby powder cancer lawsuits be consolidated before the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma as an alternative. Though not as close to the Johnson & Johnson headquarters, the company claims that the district is still more convenient that the Southern District of Illinois as it is the 86th busiest district court in the nation and has only two pending MDLs. The request for the Western District of Oklahoma as an alternative for the Johnson & Johnson's baby powder cancer lawsuits also mentioned that Judge Timothy DeGiusti, who would be the preferred choice, isn't currently overseeing an MDL proceeding.
Johnson & Johnson claims talcum powder attorneys will not be best served by the Southern District of Illinois court in large part because of the current traffic it sees as the 7th busiest district court in the country. They also noted that Judge David R. Herndon, who the plaintiff requested to oversee the MDL in Illinois, is already overseeing two additional MDLs. Johnson & Johnson's talcum powder cancer lawyers believe that the District of New Jersey district court will be better suited both geographically and logistically than the plaintiff's request of the Southern District of Illinois district court.