Closing arguments in the third trial in St. Louis over the cancer risks of Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based personal hygiene products are scheduled for Thursday in Missouri state court and will be webcast live by Courtroom View Network.
J&J is facing 1,200 lawsuits in Missouri and New Jersey, charging it with failing to warn consumers about the cancer risks. Earlier this year juries in state court in St. Louis awarded 8-figure verdicts in trials charging that the company knew that its talc-based products cause ovarian cancer, and failed to warn women who used it.
In addition, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) created the new MDL 2738, In Re: Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Products Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, supervised by US District Judge Freda L. Wolfson in the District of New Jersey. There 47 cases pending so far.
The St. Louis trial began on October 4, and is the third talc powder case to go before a jury in Missouri. The outcome will shape the terms of a potential large-scale settlement.
J&J has argued that ovarian cancer has no single known cause, and that both the FDA and CDC reviewed the potential cancer risks of talc-containing hygiene products and deemed them safe.
The company successfully won dismissal of two cases in New Jersey when Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Nelson Johnson dismissed them in September after excluding two leading scientists from testifying as expert witnesses.
The New Jersey dismissal makes the Giannecchini trial that much more significant, because it would likely make Missouri the preferred forum for newly filed talc cases. After jurors sided with plaintiffs in a second case talc in May, Beasley Allen claimed in media reports to be swamped with nearly 5000 similar claims.
Missouri’s standards for admitting expert testimony are less stringent than New Jersey’s, with much greater deference given to the jury, according to Courtroom Connect. Judge Johnson’s dismissal of the New Jersey case was based on excluding testimony from two of the plaintiffs key experts who previously testified in St. Louis.
The case is Tiffany Hogans, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson, The case number in the U.S District Court of the Eastern District of Missouri is 16-cv-01470. The Missouri state court case number is 1422-CC09012-01.