More Than 60 Baby Powder Lawsuits Currently In MDL
The MDL created to consolidate federal Johnson & Johnson's baby powder lawsuits has grown to more than 60 claims following an October transfer.
Friday, December 9, 2016 - The number of federal talcum powder cancer lawsuits pending before the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey has topped 60, with federal claims around the country joining the centralized proceedings. The claims are targeted at Johnson & Johnson for the company's failure to affix warning labels to its talcum powder products. Baby powder has been linked to ovarian cancer in a wide array of medical studies, and plaintiffs in the talcum powder lawsuits claims that Johnson & Johnson had been aware of this research and intentionally decided against warning consumers of the risks involved.
The motion to transfer federal Johnson & Johnson's baby powder lawsuits came before the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation late in September during a panel hearing. Both plaintiffs and Johnson & Johnson requested that the litigation be centralized. Johnson & Johnson lobbied for New Jersey, while the plaintiffs named a number of locations around the country for the proceedings to be held.
A number of plaintiffs also called for the denial of an MDL, claiming that too many talcum powder lawsuits had resolved or were sufficiently far in their proceedings as to make consolidation unnecessary. In the end, Johnson & Johnson's request for New Jersey was granted, and the 11 original talcum powder lawsuits in the motion to transfer were transferred to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.
Since that time, talcum powder lawyers expected the number of cases to grow. Roughly two months after the litigation was consolidated, the number has grown to at least 60 Johnson & Johnson's baby powder lawsuits. More are likely to be added to that total in the coming months, especially following a recent $70 million decision made in favor of a plaintiff in a St. Louis talcum powder trial in October. Talcum powder news has been spreading around the country after a series of similar victories in 2016, a development that will continue to funnel talcum powder lawsuits to the MDL.
There is also multicounty litigation underway in New Jersey regarding talcum powder cancer lawsuits, though these are separate from the MDL proceedings. It is worth noting that Johnson & Johnson's baby powder attorneys have had the most success regarding the litigation in New Jersey thus far. In September, a New Jersey judge rejected a pair of talcum powder experts' testimony and dismissed a pair of lawsuits linked to the evidence they were set to present. This ruling called into question the science behind the claims being made in baby powder ovarian cancer lawsuits, but did not set a precedent for the entire country. The most recent $70 million decision reached by a jury in the City of St. Louis Circuit Court found in favor of the plaintiff after the New Jersey decision had been made.
Johnson & Johnson is headquartered in New Jersey, where the MDl is centralized. This is part of the reason the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation chose the location as it will serve as a convenience for a good deal of discovery that has to take place. Johnson & Johnson has pushed for a quick bellwether process, though the MDL is still in its beginning stages.