Johnson & Johnson Wins Missouri Talc Liability Lawsuit

Thousands of lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson have been filed after claims that the company’s Talc powder causes an increase in ovarian cancer surfaced. The company’s recent Missouri lawsuit included Nora Daniels, a Tennessee resident who claims she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2013. Daniels alleges that she used Talc powder for 36 years before her cancer diagnosis.

Johnson & Johnson states that the Missouri state court ruled in favor of the company.

The verdict is just one of more than 2,500 lawsuits filed against the company due to their talc-based products. The lawsuits are all pending in St. Louis state court. The same court recently granted $195 million settlement in favor of three different plaintiffs.

Johnson & Johnson asserts that the recent victory is “consistent with the science, research, clinical evidence and decades of studies by medical experts around the world that continue to support the safety of cosmetic talc.”

The Daniels verdict came as a shock to product liability lawyers, with Daniels’ attorney stating, “We continue to maintain that the association between genital talc usage and ovarian cancer remains an issue of public health.”

Johnson & Johnson is accused of not warning their consumers of the link to increased ovarian cancer risks when using talc. The company states that they marketed and promoted their products properly.

The company stated that the case should be thrown out of court, alleging that the lawyers have tainted the jury pool. Johnson & Johnson states that plaintiffs have spent nearly $10 million to run commercials in the previous years. Lawyers deny these claims.

Lawyers for the company argue that the cases in St. Louis may have to be refilled as the company argues that the court may not have jurisdication over the cases. Johnson & Johnson is a New Jersey-based company.

Johnson & Johnson plans to appeal previous verdicts, pointing to discrepancies between New Jersey and Missouri rulings. The company’s rulings in New Jersey have been in their favor. A New Jersey judge disqualified experts, stating that their testimony was speculative.

The judge presiding over the 200 cases in New Jersey also dismissed two cases.

Johnson & Johnson is trying to block expert testimony in St. Louis, stating that the scientific experts’ testimonies are too speculative to be heard in court. Jere Beasley, a lawyer handling hundreds of cases against Johnson & Johnson, states that the recent wins against the company should prompt the company to make a deal in future cases.

The company’s investors ignored the lawsuits, as the company had sales of $70 billion last year.

Experts argue that Johnson & Johnson should continue to fight the talc cases rather than settle. The company has a brand to protect, according to experts, and if the company settles, they’re making a claim that they were responsible for a harmful product damaging the company’s reputation.

Product defect claims against the company in 2016  resulted in 6 of 7 of the largest product-defect verdicts in the U.S. against Johnson & Johnson. The company paid over $1.5 billion in settlements for two hip implant verdicts alone.