Plaintiffs’ lawyers say trial judge misapplied law, excluded expert testimony

NEWARK, N.J. – Attorneys for two women battling ovarian cancer have filed an appeal in the Superior Court of New Jersey, arguing that a trial judge erred when he excluded expert testimony about links between talcum powder and ovarian cancer.

Lawyers for Diana Balderrama and Brandi Carl are asking the appellate court to reverse Atlantic County Judge Nelson C. Johnson’s September 2016 pretrial ruling and dismissal of the lawsuits. Their brief argues that expert testimony should be allowed from Dr. Graham A. Colditz and Dr. Daniel W. Cramer – two of the world’s leading cancer researchers.

The appeal charges that Judge Johnson ignored established New Jersey law. Instead of determining whether the experts used sound and established methodologies to reach their conclusions – as required by New Jersey Law – the judge assumed a jury’s “fact-finder” role and based his ruling on personal opinions of the experts’ conclusions, according to the appellate brief.

“The trial court’s decision to preclude the testimony turns New Jersey’s law of expert admissibility on its head…. The court substituted its own judgment for that of the scientists and usurped the role of the jury by holding what was in effect a bench trial on the issue of causation,” according to the appeal filed by attorneys from the Beasley Allen Law Firm.

The New Jersey lawsuits are among thousands filed across the United States that contend that Johnson & Johnson and talc supplier Imerys Talc America failed to warn women about known ovarian cancer risks associated with genital application of talc products like Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower.

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