Johnson & Johnson Seeks Centralization of 103 New Jersey Talcum Powder Cases

Attorneys for the pharmaceutical giant, Johnson & Johnson, are asking that the 103 lawsuits claiming the company’s talcum powder products caused ovarian cancer be consolidated into multicounty litigation. The application on behalf of Johnson & Johnson seeks to have the individual lawsuits centralized in Atlantic County before Superior Court Judge Nelson Johnson. J & J asserts such centralization will ensure fairness to all parties as well as avoiding duplicate motions and inconsistent discovery rulings. The 103 lawsuits currently filed include 156 plaintiffs.

The Law Journal reports lawsuits over talcum powder products are rapidly increasing with plaintiffs claiming the use of J & J Baby Powder and Shower to Shower in the genital region resulted in ovarian cancer. Johnson & Johnson believes both past and recent studies regarding the link between ovarian cancer and talcum powder have failed to demonstrate a causal link. Because of this, the company argues scientific issues would be more efficiently addressed under an MCL.

Further, because the number of plaintiffs is already relatively high, J & J argues there are common issues of law and fact. Johnson & Johnson attorneys also noted there are other pending cases on the issue, including five federal lawsuits and nine lawsuits filed in a Missouri state court. Plaintiffs and their lawyers are not opposing coordination of the New Jersey cases.

The Johnson and Johnson Talcum Powder Controversy

While talcum powder has been a staple in American bathrooms and nurseries for generations, evidence has been available for decades confirming the connection between talcum powder used in the genital region and an elevated risk of ovarian cancer. As far back as 1971, scientists believed that talc particles could enter a woman’s reproductive tract through the vagina.

The talc particles would then travel through the cervix, into the uterus, through the fallopian tubes and, finally, to the ovaries. An article in The Lancelet Journal reported detailed findings of particles of talc embedded deeply in the majority of ovarian tumors. A 1982 study, published in the journal Cancer, also showed a definitive link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. Since that time, more than twenty additional studies have shown a causal relationship between talcum powder and ovarian cancer.

A 2013 study, published in the Cancer Prevention Research journal, reviewed data from eight separate research papers, involving some 2,000 women. This particular data analysis showed ovarian cancer risks increased between 20 and 30 percent among women using talcum powder in the genital region. Despite the fact J & J was aware of the research, the company deemed the matter “inconclusive,” refusing to place a warning label or notice on products containing talcum powder.

Lawsuits Associated with the Ovarian Cancer/Talcum Powder Risk

In 2013, a South Dakota jury found this omission significant. The jury found in favor of a plaintiff who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer after 30 years of using Shower to Shower body powder in the genital area. The jury stated J & J failed to warn consumers of the link between talcum powder used for feminine hygiene and ovarian cancer.

A Stockton, California woman filed suit in 2014 against J & J, claiming the following:

  • Breach of implied warranty;
  • Violating the legal remedies of consumers;
  • Negligence, and
  • Violating business and professions codes as well as the Unfair Competition Law.

A subsequent class-action from an Illinois resident claimed Johnson & Johnson profited unjustly from its talcum powder products as well as violated the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practice Act. If the 103 lawsuits are coordinated into an MCL, it is likely we will see many more plaintiffs alleging harm from talcum powder, adding to that number.

Contact Us

If you or a family member has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer or fallopian tube cancer and you used talcum powder on a regular basis, contact our firm today. One of our experienced product liability attorneys will evaluate your case and help you determine if you are entitled to compensation.

To learn more about your legal options or to schedule a free consultation call the Philadelphia class action lawyers at Golomb Legal today at (215) 278-4449 or fill out our confidential contact form.

The national product liability lawyers at Golomb Legal have successfully represented individuals in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and throughout the United States.