A California state court judge on Tuesday got a day-long crash course on the alleged connections between Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products and ovarian cancer, Courtroom View Network reports. According to an article posted on CVN’s website, the “science day” was to bring Judge Maren Nelson up to speed on the underlying science ahead of a bellwether trial set for July.
These types of “science day” hearings are common in complex mass tort cases to give judges the chance to learn about the science that will serve as the basis for legal arguments in the trial. The hearings were interesting as attorneys for both sides got into everything from talc’s properties as a mineral to the methodology behind the scientific studies that establish the link between talc and ovarian cancer. The scheduled trial will represent more than 300 plaintiffs.
Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer
This hearing comes days after J & J landed their first defense verdict in a talcum powder trial in Missouri after suffering three consecutive losses and huge judgments totaling $200 million. These large verdicts spurred additional lawsuits from other woman who alleged that using talcum powder products for feminine hygiene caused their ovarian cancer.
In these cases, plaintiffs’ attorneys argued that J & J and their talc supplier, Imerys, knew for many years that it was cancer-causing. But the companies say that these arguments are based on flawed science and that talc is no more dangerous than alcohol or red meat. During the hearing, the plaintiffs’ attorneys focused more on studies going as far back as the 1980s showing links between talc and ovarian cancer. The defense cited more recent decisions by regulatory agencies and watchdog groups not to classify talc as a carcinogen.
Justice for Victims
We hope that this mass tort case plays its part in bringing to light the real science, which shows the link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. The recent large verdicts against J & J have encouraged hundreds of women to come forward and file more lawsuits, which is a good thing. These women, like many others, bought into J & J’s marketing and their commercials, which encouraged women to use talcum powder for feminine hygiene. We hope these victims get justice and fair compensation for their tremendous losses.