A Missouri Court of Appeals judge has rejected Johnson & Johnson’s bid to delay thousands of lawsuits alleging that its talcum powder products are linked to ovarian cancer. According to news reports, Johnson & Johnson filed a bid to put off the trials, alleging that the lawsuits were filed in Missouri out of jurisdiction. A Missouri Court of Appeals has rejected that motion, allowing the lawsuits to move forward in Missouri, the jurisdiction where they were filed.
Reports state that there are about 1,350 plaintiffs who have lawsuits pending against Johnson & Johnson in Missouri courts. But the company argued that they shouldn’t be filed in Missouri because the plaintiffs are not Missouri residents. A judge disagreed with J & J saying the plaintiff’s lives are important. But, he’ll allow the next trial involving around 60 plaintiffs to begin February 6. Once that is done, five more will follow.
Allegations Against Johnson and Johnson
Lawsuits have been filed against J & J alleging that the company’s powder products that contain talc pose an increased risk of ovarian cancer, particularly to women who have used them in the genital area. Lawsuits filed in Missouri courts have resulted in multi-million dollar verdicts in favor of plaintiffs including $72 million to the family of Jacqueline Fox who died from ovarian cancer and $55 million to Gloria Ristesund. Plaintiffs say they used J & J for feminine hygiene purposes for decades without ever knowing that the products could cause ovarian cancer.
Two lawsuits in New Jersey went in J & J’s favor when a judge dismissed the cases saying plaintiffs did not prove a proper link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. Meanwhile in a California case, a judge will not set a trial date for a woman who said she wants her day in court because she may only have months to live.
The Link Between Talcum Powder and Cancer
Johnson & Johnson and its team of attorneys are still maintaining that there is no confirmed link between their talcum powder products and the risk of ovarian cancer. However, there have been various studies since the 1970s and 1980s, which have suggested a link. The company ignored those studies and continued to aggressively market and sell these products to women with slogans like: “A spritz a day keeps the odor away.”
A study published as recently as a few days ago reemphasizes this connection. Researchers at the Tisch Cancer Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan published their study in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention. They looked at 24 previously published statistical analyses and studies with data on more than 300,000 women with ovarian cancer and concluded that there was a statistically significant link between talcum powder products and ovarian cancer. It’s about time J & J acknowledges these studies and enters into fair settlements with these affected victims and their families. They should also warn consumers about the dangers these products cause so such tragedies can be averted in the future.