According to Law360, the first California talc trial is scheduled for July 10. Plaintiff Eva Echeverria is one of hundreds of women who have filed complaints in Los Angeles Superior Court against Johnson and Johnson and Imerys Talc America. Similar suits filed all across the country allege that talc, when used for feminine hygiene, can travel through the female reproductive system and cause ovarian cancer. The suits also allege that J&J and Imerys have been aware of studies linking talc to ovarian cancer for decades but, rather than warn consumers, they tried to deny and suppress the risk.
Echeverria alleges she developed ovarian cancer after using J&J’s talcum powder products for years according to instructions. According to her attorneys, Echeverria is diagnosed with only six months to live. Because of her declining health, her case is the first in California to be brought before a jury.
Echeverria is a California resident bringing suit in California court claiming to have developed ovarian cancer in California, so her suit is not affected by the recent U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overruling the California Supreme Court’s previous decision to allow hundreds of out-of-state plaintiffs to sue Bristol-Myers Squibb in California for its blood-thinning medication Plavix allegedly increasing risk of stroke, heart attack and internal bleeding. BMS is incorporated in Delaware and headquartered in New York. In light of this decision about jurisdiction, the most recent talc trial taking place in St. Louis, Missouri, was ended early as a mistrial, as two of the three deceased plaintiffs were out-of-state residents.
Previous trials in Missouri had resulted in four out of five verdicts in favor of plaintiffs, with Johnson and Johnson facing massive damages. Two of the juries also held Imerys Talc America liable. The verdicts totaled more than $300 million dollars: $72 million in February of 2016, $55 million and $70 million later that year, and then $110 million in May this year.
All of the Missouri talc trials were led by the same trial team of R. Allen Smith of the Mississippi-based Smith Law Firm and attorneys from the firm Beasley Allen of Montgomery, Alabama. After such attention-getting verdicts, the world is watching to see the results of the first talc trials outside of Missouri. Echeverria is represented by Mark P. Robinson Jr. of Robinson Calcagnie Inc.