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J&J facing ongoing, formidable product liability challenge

Multinational medical and consumer product company Johnson & Johnson executives might reasonably feel as though they are in a never-ending nightmare that revolves around the seemingly innocuous substance talc.

Many millions of people use talcum powder, and J&J’s Baby Powder and other talc-linked offerings have been global mainstays for decades.

But now there is this, too, though: a formidably long line of plaintiffs jockeying for position in projected lawsuits alleging severe injury and even death resulting from talc use.

One such trial – which featured claims of a link between J&J’s commercial talc and the cancer-causing carcinogen asbestos just concluded in Missouri. It resulted in a stunning win for 22 female plaintiffs, who were collectively awarded $4.7 billion against J&J.

Our deep team of health law attorneys provides the diligent representation and strong defense that industry participants such as Johnson & Johnson need to make good-faith challenges to claims they believe lack merit.

The just-concluded litigation is one such matter. J&J officials expressed deep disappointment with the outcome, stating a company view that the “science” relied upon to influence jurors has been consistently refuted by solid empirical proofs. A company statement flatly asserts that J&J products “do not cause ovarian cancer” and that the product will aggressively pursue “all available appellate remedies.”

Johnson & Johnson has appealed past rulings, with some success. Moreover, its arguments are buttressed by some persuasive findings. The American Cancer Society states that there is no known linkage between asbestos and commercial talc. And the National Cancer Institute stresses that claims of talc absorption causing ovary damage “are not supported by the weight of the evidence.”

The talc litigation will likely persist for years in various trial and appellate stages. We will keep readers fully apprised of material developments.

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