A judicial panel has consolidated all federal talcum powder/ovarian cancer litigation in the District of New Jersey, joining sixty-six cases and what promises to be hundreds (if not thousands) more. The order creates what is known as an “MDL” (multidistrict litigation) court in which single federal judge will coordinate the pretrial procedures of all talcum powder/ovarian cancer litigation in federal court.
This “MDL” procedure is commonly confused with a class action in which a single plaintiff represents the interests of all other similarly-situated persons. In an “MDL,” all individual cases remain separate from one another. Once pretrial proceedings are completed, the cases return to their original jurisdictions for trial.
So what does the formation of the Talcum Powder MDL mean for women? There will now be an intensive, coordinated effort to discover all of the facts pertaining to the risks of talcum powder, what Johnson & Johnson knew about those risks, and what steps the company took (or didn’t take) to minimize those risks or warn its consumers. This process could be time consuming: MDLs often take several years to mature. But the process will be very thorough and may position individual cases advantageously for trial.
There is danger in the formation of an MDL, however. Johnson & Johnson will, no doubt, use the consolidated proceedings as an opportunity to continue its attack on the science underlying the connection between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. Despite strong evidence to the contrary, the company continues to argue that no such connection exists. Consolidated proceedings give Johnson & Johnson the ability to attack all cases with a single motion, seeking a court order that all expert testimony linking cancer and talc is inadmissible.
In the meantime, state litigation continues in both Missouri and California. A St. Louis jury is currently hearing the fourth trial on this matter. All three previous trials have resulted in verdicts on behalf of the women who suffered from ovarian cancer, including verdicts of $72 million and $55 million.
Our law firm will be filing its first round of talcum powder/ovarian cancer cases in the District of South Carolina in the coming weeks. We look forward to joining forces with other lawyers throughout the United States to better represent our clients who have battled ovarian cancer.
We continue to investigate many cases of ovarian cancer across the State of South Carolina. If you would like to speak to a Columbia SC personal injury lawyer at Chappell, Smith & Arden about your potential case, please call us at 1 (800) 531-9780 or email us.