Missouri Supreme Court denies requests to delay talc-related cancer trials

posted on:
January 26, 2017

author:
Staff

Trial slated to begin Feb. 6 in St. Louis’ 22nd Circuit Court

ST LOUIS – The Missouri Supreme Court has denied requests by Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) and its supplier of baby powder talc to delay upcoming trials over allegations that the company’s talc-based products led to the development of ovarian cancer in some women. That means the next trial will go forward on Feb. 6 in St. Louis.

Attorneys for J&J and Imerys Talc America had asked the state Supreme Court to deny the jurisdiction of the 22nd Circuit Court in St. Louis to hear the cases, since most of the plaintiffs with pending claims are not Missouri residents. The plaintiffs’ attorneys countered by pointing out those individuals are legally and properly before that court and that both defendants have a presence in the state of Missouri. In the latest blow to the defendants, the Supreme Court rejected their motions on Jan. 24. An appeals court had also denied the motions earlier this month.

Last year, St. Louis juries returned three separate verdicts of $70 million, $72 million and $55 million for cancer victims who sued New Jersey-based J&J.

The cases claim that numerous scientific studies have shown the link between ovarian cancer and genital use of talc-containing products manufactured and marketed by J&J, including Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower. Attorneys for the plaintiffs allege the companies knew about the dangers of talcum powder for decades, but attempted to suppress and dismiss the research while refusing to provide warning labels on talc-containing products.

“The Missouri Supreme Court has affirmed the constitutional rights of these women and families to file these claims in a central location with well-educated jurors, a fair-minded judiciary, and efficient court system” said Ted Meadows, attorney for the plaintiffs and principal at the Beasley Allen Law Firm in Montgomery, Alabama. “J&J has known about the risk and the link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer for a long time. We have the world’s leading clinical researchers and scientists on the subject testifying to the link between talc and ovarian cancer. We have the internal company documents, the testimony, and the evidence. And we can show and have shown that J&J has been trying to doctor that evidence for many years.”

In the U.S., ovarian cancer affects about 24,000 women a year and is the fifth-leading cause of cancer death for women. Medical experts estimate that more than 14,000 women die from talc-related ovarian cancer each year, and two scientific studies have found that nearly 10 percent of the new ovarian cancer cases and deaths reported annually are caused by the genital use of talcum powder.

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