The long-awaited ruling by Judge Freda Wolfson in the Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder MDL 2738 was issued April 27, 2020. In the opinion, the court ruled that plaintiffs could present evidence that J&J’s talcum powder products can cause ovarian cancer and that a jury must decide that question.
What does plaintiff leadership say?
Chris Tisi, of Levin Papantonio states:
“This is a significant ruling for the thousands of women whose cases await trial by jury in federal court . We look forward to presenting evidence that J&J was aware of the risk of ovarian cancer for decades and did everything possible to hide the truth from the American public. This truth included the fact that Johnson’s talcum Powders container asbestos, a fact that the FDA confirmed last October. We believe that J&Js failure to be honest with the public and health agencies about the risks created by this iconic product caused the needless death of many women.”
The immediate question that comes to mind is will this plaintiff favorable ruling push J&J to engage in settlement discussions? J&J were hoping that an adverse ruling that excluded plaintiff’s expert would have enabled them to follow the J&J scorched earth defense strategy that they are notoriously well known for.
Now J&J will have to defend the decades long marketing and false data campaigns they’ve pushed on the American consumer as well as untold numbers of other consumers around the world.
Rick Meadow of The Lanier Law Firm Offers:
“Women who have taken gravely ill due to the use of poisonous J&J talcum powder earned a well-deserved decision from the Court which clears the path for them to continue their fight for justice.”
What’s Next in Talc?
They are now forced to make executive suite decisions, to face remand or risk bellwether trials, where they will be forced to defend bad science, regulatory manipulation, paid endorsements in medical studies and journals and the numerous other examples of J&J bad conduct. These examples of secretive meetings, manipulating FDA decisions, skewing public opinion via development of relationships with media representatives and other influencers are now a matter of court as well as numerous public records, which J&J will be unable to defend.
One of the key areas that Wolfson clarified, is that plaintiffs are able to show that talc exposure in the genital area may lead to ovarian cancer, however the judge did exclude any testimony on inhalation of talcum powder that would travel through the lymphatic system to the ovaries.
In Judge Wolfson’s 141 page full opinion, (see link below) she provides insight and clarification on what data, testing and other methodologies were followed by both sides in the talc litigation. The fact that no plaintiffs experts were excluded, tends to lead to the conclusion that Judge Wolfson found certain validity to the plaintiff’s expert opinions on causation and other factors, as Wolfson is known to be conservative in her rulings where science or facts are questionable. Whether J&J sees this as a defined statement or merely just an additional hindrance to their now proven ability to use manipulated science and opinion shaping policies for close to 40 years.
For more real-time information on the Talc ruling and the overall docket watch the MTMP Connect Talc Webinar today May 11, 2020 at 2”00pm (EST): Talc Ovarian Cancer and Talc Mesothelioma Litigation Update https://mtmp.com/connect/ (full webinar outline is below)
Plaintiffs are now in an exceptionally strong position for either settlement or trial, J&J now has a chink in their scorched earth defense armor and plaintiffs will be able to simply state let’s take everything to trial or start sincere settlement discussions.
Although Johnson & Johnson has engaged in an ongoing media manipulation campaign, they now seem to have ramped up things in the financial industry. As seen in the Barclay’s financial white paper that was in issued immediately after the Daubert ruling yesterday, which Barclay’s financial analysts incorrectly framed as a Johnson & Johnson favorable ruling. That is either a reflection of J&J’s pre-ruling interaction with financial groups and other industry insiders or simply certain companies including in the financial industry and others are utilizing a different set of legal facts, opinions and related data to come to incorrect conclusions that the April 27th Daubert ruling was in any way favorable to Johnson & Johnson.
One absolute fact related to the ruling is the continued efforts by law firms across the country to file claims against J&J for their lack of disclosure and numerous transgressions related to their talcum powder products. The dockets in both federal and state courts will continue to expand and will only force Johnson & Johnson to pay more for settlement.
How long J&J can expect to delay the inevitable, when they will have to admit being aware of the link between talcum powder use and cancer causation remains to be seen, as they are notorious for being unwilling to admit wrongdoing or corporate malfeasance, generally absent some type of criminal indictment or a related investigation.
For more real-time information on the Talc ruling and the overall docket watch the MTMP Connect Talc Webinar at: https://mtmp.com/connect/
Talc Ovarian Cancer and Talc Mesothelioma Litigation Update
DATE: Monday, May 11
TIME: 2:00 PM Eastern Standard Time
- Chris Tisi, Levin Papantonio
- Mark Lanier, The Lanier Law Firm
- Leigh O’Dell, Beasley Allen
- Michelle Parfitt, Ashcraft & Gerel
- Chris Placitella, Cohen Placitella & Roth
- Luke Russell, Russell Media
- MDL Daubert Decision and MDL Status Update
- FDA October 2019 testing of Johnson’s Baby Powder and Johnson& Johnson’s recall
- FDA February 2020 Meeting on Talc and recommendations on testing talc for Asbestos and other carcinogens
- Addressing J&J’s trial defenses–Mesothelioma and Ovarian cancer
- State Court Litigation Update, appellate and trial
- Why Talc works well on Facebook
- How to drive results through storytelling
- How to choose your targeting for Talc cases
Coming soon on J&J Bad Conduct:
In a historical context look at J&J bad conduct, we will explore the Risperdal criminal indictment and settlement payment of $2.2 billion, which completely falls at the feet of current J&J CEO Alex Gorski, who was also the architect of the Risperdal off label marketing campaign in his pre-CEO tenure with the company.
Excerpt from US Department of Justice November 2013 release:
WASHINGTON – Global health care giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and its subsidiaries will pay more than $2.2 billion to resolve criminal and civil liability arising from allegations relating to the prescription drugs Risperdal, Invega and Natrecor, including promotion for uses not approved as safe and effective by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and payment of kickbacks to physicians and to the nation’s largest long-term care pharmacy provider. The global resolution is one of the largest health care fraud settlements in U.S. history, including criminal fines and forfeiture totaling $485 million and civil settlements with the federal government and states totaling $1.72 billion.