Johnson & Johnson’s Next Move After Failing to Exclude Experts in April

Scientific Evidence Mounts Against Defendants in Baby Powder Ovarian Cancer Litigation

What is Baby Powder Ovarian Cancer? Over the past decade, more and more women have been diagnosed with ovarian cancers they believe is the result of using Johnson & Johnson baby powder with talc or Shower to Shower powder with talc for feminine hygiene purposes. As far back as the seventies, talc fibers were found in the ovaries of women who died of ovarian cancer. The theory was—and is—that these microscopic fibers made their way through the reproductive system, embedding into the ovaries and causing inflammation. In turn, chronic inflammation led to cancerous cells in the ovaries. Today, Johnson & Johnson has as many as 20,000 lawsuits filed against them by women who were harmed by J & J talcum powders. More recently, it was also discovered that some of the talcum powders also had asbestos fibers in them. Asbestos is a known carcinogen, therefore, the lawsuits have increased.

How Johnson & Johnson Failed to Exclude Key Plaintiffs’ Experts - A Daubert claim was filed in which J & J asked that some of the experts on the Plaintiffs’ side should be disqualified as experts, therefore unable to testify. The judge in the case did not exclude these experts. The goal in this—and any other—Daubert Hearing is to evaluate whether the expert witnesses and their evidence are credible. If Johnson & Johnson had prevailed at this particular Daubert Hearing, almost 12,000 talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuits could have been dismissed—79 percent of the total of all the outstanding baby powder ovarian cancer lawsuits.

What Did Johnson & Johnson Do Next? After J & J was unable to exclude the plaintiffs’ expert witnesses from testifying, the company took a very unusual next step. J & J asked the judge presiding over the litigation to assign “court-approved” experts who would “assist” the jurors in the cases in their determination of whether the talc found in J & J’s Baby Powder could cause ovarian cancer. The motion filed by J & J asked for “independent experts” (of their choosing, of course) to help the jurors in the cases understand the scientific issues presented. J & J’s theory, ostensibly, is that since there will be opposite scientific opinions presented, their “independent experts” can help the jurors understand.

In addition to requesting these experts who will explain scientific evidence to jurors, J & J also asked that a panel of experts be appointed to answer questions from the jurors regarding whether the plaintiffs’ claims that talcum powder caused their ovarian cancer can be scientifically supported. As expected, the plaintiffs have voiced strong opposition to the request, indicating that it raises “significant constitutional concerns,” since it is the role of a jury to answer questions, rather than a court-appointed panel.

Since the answers to the questions the jurors may have regarding whether talcum powder can cause ovarian cancer is central to the claims, having a panel of experts from Johnson & Johnson answer those questions seems to skew the jurors in favor of J & J. In fact, juries hear opposing evidence in virtually every courtroom across the United States. The plaintiffs further asserted that appointing a group of “independent” experts is simply another attempt to negate the Daubert decision allowing experts on both sides to testify. Although Johnson & Johnson has consistently maintained the safety of its baby powder with talc and Shower to Shower with talc, the manufacturer removed their iconic baby powder with talc from U.S. markets in May 2020, citing a decline in sales.

How a Baby Powder Ovarian Cancer Attorney Can Help - If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using Johnson & Johnson baby powder with talc or Shower to Shower with talc, you could potentially benefit from speaking to an experienced baby powder ovarian cancer lawyer who can comprehensively assess the facts of your case, then help you determine whether filing a talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuit is right for you.

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Author: Andrew Sullo
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