Judge Throws Out Two Lawsuits Against J&J Over Talc/ Cancer Link Experts

Jane Akre
September 8, 2016

Mesh Medical Device News Desk, September 8, 2016 ~ Talcum Powder /Cancer Litigation Against J&J Receives a Setback

Litigation naming talcum powder as a link to ovarian cancer received a setback this week as as New Jersey judge decided to throw out two women’s lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson.

On September 2, Judge Nelson Johnson (no relation) ruled the two New Jersey women failed to provide enough medical evidence to support their claim. The rulings shows the diverse standards needed to prove the talcum powder/ ovarian cancer risk.

There are about 1,000 lawsuits pending against J&J over its talcum baby powder as well as shower to shower. Both have been used by women for feminine hygiene. Two hundred of those lawsuits are pending in New Jersey.

Judge Johnson wrote, “No witness for plaintiffs ventured to articulate just how it is that talc in the ovaries, or, what it is about talc in the ovaries, that sets off a chain of events which purportedly causes ovarian cancer.”

Law.com writes the ruling came as a big shock to plaintiffs’ attorneys, who say they plan to appeal.

“This came out of the blue,” said Ted Meadows, a principal at Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles in Montgomery, Alabama. He said that Johnson, in striking Drs. Graham Colditz and Daniel Cramer, “went too far in his analysis and started weighing evidence instead of determining whether or not their methodology was sound.”

The ruling bolstered previous attacks made by Johnson & Johnson and its lawyers against the science behind plaintiffs’ talc cases.


Last month, Judge Johnson held a seven-day hearing to examine whether the science in the talc cases met the evidentiary standards set by the New Jersey Supreme Court. Johnson, instead, found gaps in the methodologies of both experts, Drs. Colditz and Cramer. He said neither was able to explain how talcum powder causes ovarian cancer. Both experts are qualified scientifically, he noted, but they had “made-for-litigation” scientific methods.

The two experts both testified at two product liability trials in St. Louis. In one case, the New Brunswick-based company was ordered to pay $72 million to the estate of a woman who died of ovarian cancer after decades of talcum powder use. Another trial in St. Louis yielded a $55 million verdict for the plaintiff. As a result, J&J has tried to have that Missouri venue changed.

In an upcoming September 26 talcum power case in St. Louis, both experts are set to testify. ###

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