Johnson & Johnson is one of the companies that has been hit particularly hard by cosmetic talcum powder litigation. The company currently faces thousands of lawsuits over talc-based products, cases which have been combined in a federal court in St. Louis. Last week, the company was unsuccessful in having most of those cases transferred to various courts nationwide where plaintiffs are located.
The venue battle is based is part of the company’s strategy to minimize or deny liability for injuries to its customers, who claim that products containing talcum powder increased their risk of ovarian cancer when used vaginally. The company has denied liability, pointing to studies which demonstrate no conclusive link, but has received unfavorable outcomes from three jury verdicts.
So far, the jury verdicts total to $195 million, and the company’s efforts to move the cases to other jurisdictions were aimed at avoiding further unfavorable decisions. Part of its argument was that the jury pool in St. Louis had been tainted by millions of dollars in television commercials highlight the potential connection between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. Plaintiffs lawyers have denied that allegation, and unfortunately for the company, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled against moving the cases to other venues.
The attempt to move the venue is one example of the kind of strategies companies use to deflect responsibility and minimize liability for harm done to consumers. Certainly, having an experienced attorney is important to ensure plaintiffs’ rights and interests are zealously advocated throughout the legal process.