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Attorney Van O'Steen

Federal Court Talcum Powder Cancer Lawsuits Consolidated in New Jersey

Van O'Steen

October 5, 2016

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Washington, D.C.—The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ordered yesterday that eleven pending federal court cases against Johnson & Johnson involving claims that its talcum-based products (Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower Body Powder) be consolidated in a single federal court.  The Panel determined that the U.S. District Court of New Jersey was the most appropriate Court to preside over the pretrial proceedings in the Johnson & Johnson lawsuits.

The Panel cited common questions of fact as a basis for the consolidation.  It noted that all the pending lawsuits allege that the perineal use of Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products can cause ovarian or uterine cancer.  All eleven cases also present factual issues regarding the cancer risk posed by the talcum powder products, and whether Johnson & Johnson and other defendants knew or should have known of any risks.  Likewise, all the lawsuits share factual questions as to whether the defendants gave proper instructions and warning to consumers about the talc-based products.

The Multidistrict Panel determined that the New Jersey District Court was the most appropriate district for consolidation of the talcum powder cancer lawsuits because it is situated near a number of pending state courts where similar actions are pending.  In addition, Johnson & Johnson is headquartered in New Jersey causing evidence and witnesses likely to be located in that state.  Finally, Judge Freda L. Wolfson of that Court is experienced in multidistrict litigation and she presently is presiding over the most-advanced talcum powder cancer case in the federal system.

All eleven cases were ordered transferred by the seven-member Panel.  Others are likely to follow.  All lawsuits pending in various state courts will remain in those courts, where some of them also are proceeding in “coordinated or consolidated fashion.”

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