Handling Talcum Powder Injury and Death Claims in Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and Across the Country
Talc is a commonly-mined mineral comprised of magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. For years, talc (commonly called talcum powder) has been used in a variety of consumer products, including Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower.
Over the last decades, doctors and scientists have discovered evidence that talcum powder may be linked to ovarian cancer, an extremely aggressive and deadly disease in women. The earliest studies on this topic date back to 1971. Since then, dozens of peer-reviewed scientific studies have been published that demonstrate that women who use talcum powder products in the genital area are at a 20 to 30% increased risk of developing ovarian cancer.
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Internal company documents and outside testing of talcum powder has also provided evidence that talcum powder products could be contaminated by other harmful substances, such as asbestos, heavy metals, and arsenic and that the chemical fragrances in the products could be harmful as well.
Ashcraft & Gerel currently represents thousands of women in lawsuits filed across the country against Johnson & Johnson and other companies responsible for developing and marketing these products. We are at the forefront of the litigation in leadership roles in state and federal courts. If you or a loved one used Johnson’s Baby Powder or Shower to Shower and developed ovarian cancer, we want to discuss your potential case and, if possible, help you pursue the compensation you deserve.
Updates on Talcum Powder Litigation
Chief Judge Wolfson Rules on Expert Admissibility in Talc Cases
On April 27, 2020, U.S. District Judge Freda Wolfson – who presides over the multi-district litigation encompassing at least 16,000 talcum powder lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson – issued a 141-page ruling on the admissibility of expert witnesses in court. This ruling came in direct response to challenges from Johnson & Johnson after the company sought to bar all expert witnesses on the plaintiff’s side from testifying.
While Chief Judge Wolfson’s ruling does impose some limits on expert testimony, the ruling was largely considered to be a victory for consumer advocates and the plaintiffs, as all current experts in the MDL will be allowed to testify. By refuting Johnson & Johnson’s claims that the ovarian cancer lawsuits relied on “junk science,” this ruling allows thousands of pending lawsuits against the personal care company to proceed.
An overview of the guidelines for expert testimony in Johnson & Johnson talcum powder claims:
- Experts may testify on the links between contaminated talcum powder products and ovarian cancer.
- Experts may testify that talc causes inflammation and oxidative stress.
- Experts may testify that certain personal care products (such as Baby Powder and Shower to Shower) contain asbestos, fibrous talc, and heavy metals.
- Experts must rely on peer-reviewed epidemiological studies to back up their claims.
- Experts may not testify that talcum powder can cause ovarian cancer when inhaled or ingested (instead, they may testify that it causes cancer when used vaginally or near the genitals.)
Johnson & Johnson Pulls Talc-Based Baby Powder from North American Markets
Less than a month after Chief Judge Wolfson’s ruling, Johnson & Johnson announced that it would be stopping all sales of talc-based Baby Powder in North American markets. Although the company stressed that the move was prompted by “changes in consumer habits” and said that it remains “steadfastly confident in the safety of talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder,” the choice to discontinue the Baby Powder in America and Canada will likely have a dramatic impact on the talcum powder litigation.
Michelle A. Parfitt: Leading the Way in Talcum Powder Lawsuits
At Ashcraft & Gerel, we are honored to represent the thousands of women across the United States who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer because of Johnson & Johnson’s products. Our senior partner Michelle A. Parfitt is currently serving as co-lead counsel in the multi-district litigation, and with nearly four decades of experience championing consumers and advocating for public health and safety, Attorney Parfitt is committed to making sure that the affected women’s voices are heard in this matter.
To learn more about Attorney Parfitt and her groundbreaking work on behalf of consumers, read our previous blog post. If you need to speak with our legal team about a potential claim, call (866) 709-0505 to get started with a free consultation.