The US Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation will hear arguments this month on consolidating 18 actions pending in federal courts across the country where the plaintiffs allege that use of cosmetic talc products made by Johnson & Johnson causes ovarian cancer.
The hearing will be on Sept. 29 at the US Courthouse in Washington, DC, for In Re Johnson & Johnson “Baby Powder” And “Shower To Shower” Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation (PDF), MDL Docket No. 2738.
- The Georgia/Florida Talc Plaintiffs argue for consolidation before Judge Clay D. Land, Chief Judge for the Middle District of Georgia, where at least four related actions are already pending. Represented by the Barnes Law Group of Marietta, GA, and the Cheeley Law Group in Atlanta, the plaintiffs are Cammy and Michael A. Marchetti, Nancy Crews Hicks and Brannon Rice Hicks, Sr., and Allison Walker.
- Plaintiff Tanashiska Lumas argues for consolidation before David R. Herndon in Southern District of Illinois. Her attorneys are with The Barrett Law Group in Lexington Mississippi. The judge is in charge of two MDLs, for Pradaxa and Yasmin.
- Defendant Johnson & Johnson argues for consolidation before Judge Freda Wolfson in the District of New Jersey, where Chakalos v. Johnson & Johnson, No. 3:14-cv-07079, is pending. J&J is headquartered in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and the judge previously presided over three MDLs for Plavix, Fosamax and Southern Life Insurance.
- In the alternative, J&J argues for transferring the cases before Judge Timothy DeGiusti in the Western District of Oklahoma, where Robb v. Johnson & Johnson, No. 5:16-cv-00620, is pending. He is not presiding over an MDL.
J&J is facing 1,200 lawsuits in Missouri and New Jersey, charging it with failing to warn consumers about the cancer risks. Earlier this year juries in state court in St. Louis awarded 8-figure verdicts in trials charging that the company knew that its talc-based products cause ovarian cancer, and failed to warn women who used it.
In May 2016 a jury awarded plaintiff Gloria Ristesund of Sioux Falls, SD, $55 million in damages. Talc was found in the ovarian tissue after a she had a hysterectomy. She was diagnosed with cancer in 2011 after using J&J’s talc-based feminine hygiene products for almost 40 years. In February another jury in the same courthouse awarded $72 million to the family of Jacqueline Fox of Birmingham, AL, who used Johnson’s baby powder for 35 years. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2013 and died last year.
Numerous research studies have shown the connection between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. For details read Behind the $55 Million Talc Verdict: J&J Knew About Cancer Risks Since the 1970s.
Using a the self-created Talc Interested Party Task Force, J&J hired scientists to perform biased research about the safety of talc, members of the TIPTF edited scientific reports prior to submission to government agencies, members of the TIPTF knowingly released false information about the safety of talc to the public, and used political and economic influence on regulatory bodies about talc.