Courtroom View Network (CVN), which is webcasting the entire Johnson and Johnson talc trial that is currently underway, last week said that hundreds of lawyers from all over the country were in attendance watching to see how this high-stakes trial would play out. It reports that the trial might last up to four weeks. This Friday will end week two.
Johnson and Johnson, after two big losses earlier this year in the same Missouri state court where the current trial is taking place, has changed its trial team to a new law firm, presumably in hopes of different results. The plaintiff of the current lawsuit, Deborah Giannecchini, is represented by the same firms who won the previous two cases, Beasley Allen and The Smith Law Firm.
The litigation alleges that Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products, such as Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower, when used for feminine hygiene, cause ovarian cancer.
In February, a jury found in favor of deceased plaintiff Jacqueline Fox, who died of ovarian cancer just before her case went to trial, awarding her family $72 million in damages. According to Bloomberg Business the jury reached a decision after only four hours of deliberation and the jury forewoman called Johnson and Johnson’s internal documents presented in court “decisive” for jurors.
In May, another jury came to the same conclusion and slammed Johnson and Johnson with a $55 million verdict in favor of plaintiff Gloria Ristesund, ovarian cancer survivor. According to AP News, the forewoman of the Ristesund jury said that she found the science presented by the plaintiffs to be more believable. “I will never use talc again. It’s definitely concerning to me,” she told The Associated Press.
Johnson and Johnson is accused of concealing talc’s ovarian cancer risk in order to protect the popularity of its brand. CVN reports that during his opening statements plaintiff’s attorney Allen Smith encouraged jurors to hold Johnson and Johnson accountable.
“You have an opportunity as a juror in this case to change one of the largest corporation’s behavior,” Smith said. “This is big stuff.”
“It goes beyond Ms. Giannecchini,” Smith also said, according to CVN. “It affects thousands of women.”
Thousands of women in fact already have lawsuits pending, with more than 1,200 cases in centralized dockets in Missouri and New Jersey. The results of this trial are expected to impact future settlements.
Imerys Talc America, Johnson and Johnson’s talc supplier, is also a defendant in the case.