Beasley Allen lawyers are now in St. Louis for the third talcum powder trial. The Plaintiff in the case, Deborah Giannecchini, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at age 57. She is the third Plaintiff to have her case tried in this venue. The previous two trials in February and April of this year resulted in verdicts of $72 million and $55 million, respectively. The bulk of the verdicts awarded in these cases were punitive damages levied against Johnson & Johnson for its wrongful conduct in concealing the dangers of talcum powder from its customers.
The Defendants, in a most unusual and totally frivolous manner, removed this case to federal court on the Friday night before the case was scheduled to start on the following Monday. This was their second attempt to remove the case to federal court, with the first being unsuccessful. A federal judge again remanded the case to St. Louis on Sept. 21 immediately after a hearing conducted by telephone.
Johnson & Johnson continues to deny any wrongdoing and asserts that talcum powder is safe and does not cause cancer. However, decades of epidemiological studies have shown a statistically significant association between the perineal use of talcum powder and ovarian cancer.
Furthermore, the company’s own internal documents demonstrate without any doubt that the company has been aware of these risks since at least 1975. Johnson & Johnson worked in concert with its talc supplier, Imerys Talc America, Inc., and the cosmetic trade organization, the Personal Care Products Council, to influence the classification of talc as a human carcinogen by the FDA.
More trials are set in St. Louis in January, February, April and June of 2017. Currently, there is a petition pending to form a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the Southern District of Illinois, and at press time the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) was set to hear arguments both for and against the creation of the MDL on Sept. 29th. Thus far approximately 1,800 cases have been filed in St. Louis. Other cases are filed in state courts in New Jersey and California. There are others filed in various federal courts.
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