In a recent press release, Plaintiffs’ attorneys in the talc cases against Johnson and Johnson come forward to speak on behalf of Missouri courts, which are being portrayed by some media as “judicial hellholes.” These attorneys who represent women whose ovarian cancer has been linked to perineal use of Johnson’s talc-containing products, claim that this information is coming straight from corporate-funded defense lawyers and organizations and is “misguided and insulting to juries.”
“These attacks on the civil justice system are trumpeted each year by organizations that are bought and paid for by corporate interests,” said Allen Smith of Mississippi-based The Smith Law Firm, who has represented a number of the cancer victims. “These corporations are motivated by self-interest to fight against the rights of innocent victims in the court of public opinion. That’s what this is all about.”
Johnson and Johnson continues to say that the expert testimony presented in Missouri should not have been admissible, however in every case where juries were presented with the science from both sides they found the science on the plaintiffs side to be the more persuasive. This includes not only the three cases tried in Missouri this year resulting in massive verdicts against Johnson and Johnson totaling $197 million, but also the case tried in South Dakota in 2013.
“We could try these cases in any number of jurisdictions across the country, and jurors would reach the same conclusion,” said Ted Meadows, principal at Beasley Allen Law Firm in Montgomery, Ala., who represents women against Johnson and Johnson. “It’s not the location that makes a venue difficult for corporations like J&J, it’s the facts.”
Since the ’80s research has been amassing linking talc to ovarian cancer. Now more than 20 well-executed scientific studies show that compared to women who do not use talcum powder women who use these products for feminine hygiene have a 30-60 percent increased risk of developing ovarian cancer.
The most deadly gynecological cancer, ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women in the U.S., affecting about 24,000 women each year. According to the press release experts have estimated that each year 14,000 women die from talc-related ovarian cancer, and one medical expert calculates that this use of talcum powder leads to nearly 10 percent of the new ovarian cancer cases reported annually.