CMBG3 Law previously reported on a verdict against Johnson & Johnson out of California in the amount of $417 million, which was the first California case tried to verdict against Johnson & Johnson in which it was alleged that the company’s talcum powder products caused a woman’s ovarian cancer. The jury awarded the plaintiff, Eva Echevarria, $70 million in compensatory damages and $347 million in punitive damages. Late last week, Johnson & Johnson appealed the verdict, arguing that the jury committed misconduct when it considered attorneys’ fees and taxes in determining the verdict. Johnson & Johnson is asking the court to order a new trial in the case. Plaintiff’s counsel argued that even if the court finds that the award was improperly calculated, the court can deal with the verdict through remittitur (reducing the verdict amount on its own, without the need for a new trial). The court also asked the parties for argument as to whether the punitive damages award in the case was excessive given the evidence that was presented at trial. The court did not set a date for a ruling on the issues.
Also last week, a New Jersey federal court overseeing the talc Multi District Litigation (MDL) ruled that a Louisiana woman’s claim against Johnson & Johnson can proceed in Louisiana because there was no evidence that she fraudulently added RiteAid (a Louisiana-based company) the lawsuit in order to keep her claim alive in the state. The court found sufficient evidence that the plaintiff used talcum powder products purchased from Rite Aid, such that the addition of Rite Aid to the Complaint was not fraudulent. Johnson & Johnson originally removed the claim to the MDL; however, the MDL court’s ruling sends the case back to the Louisiana state court, where it will proceed to litigation.
Nationally, plaintiffs’ claims against Johnson & Johnson and talc suppliers argue that talc-containing products caused them to develop ovarian cancer. Their attorneys allege that Johnson & Johnson knew its products caused ovarian cancer, but failed to provide warning labels or otherwise discontinue the use of talc in its products. The defendants maintain that studies linking talc to ovarian cancer are based on flawed science, and they note that numerous regulatory agencies have declined to require warning labels on talc-containing products.
The attorneys at CMBG3 Law LLC have represented clients in talc, products liability, and toxic tort matters for many years. We provide the most current advice by staying informed of legal, scientific and medical developments regarding a wide variety of substances and products, including talc-containing products, used by consumers every day. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact John Gardella (email him or 617-936-4353).