During multidistrict litigation in New Jersey, the women alleging Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products are a cause of ovarian and uterine cancer requested samples of the products for their legal case, claiming there is no proof that the samples would be destroyed during testing. This was a strike against J&J after the company sent a request to enjoin all parties in all talc-related suits from obtaining samples of the baby powder and shower-to-shower products, claiming the defendants were only hypothesizing about the irreparable harm and were making unsupported assertions.
Last Friday, Johnson & Johnson told the New Jersey judge overseeing multidistrict litigation over the allegedly dangerous products that there are limited “historical” products that are related to the litigation. The company continued to claim that they would run out if they are distributed on a “first come, first served” basis. The company says it is not trying to bar the women from testing the samples but is instead asking the court to pause the request.
The company is also asking for temporary control over the samples until a process for more fair allocation is developed and it is formally decided which testing methods will be used. J&J wants a process approved by the court but says it will then be compliant and cooperative in distributing samples for testing without disrupting any of the lawsuits against the talcum powder products. According to the company, 12 women across the country that are part of 12 cases not related to the multidistrict litigation have requested samples. While the women in this case have not yet asked for the samples, the company says it has been made clear the request will be made.
J&J’s claim that there is a small amount of available materials that would be used up by the “destructive testing” relies heavily on the company’s ability to understand the necessary testing procedures, according to the women involved in the MDL case. In a statement, the women noted that “the J&J defendants do not even attempt to offer any explanation or delineation of the actual testing methods they claim to be necessary, fail to describe the alleged risks associated with the testing or offer any discussion of potential alternative, nondestructive testing methods that could be used.”
The women also noted that the company said it was only able to produce samples for 12 of the pending cases yet do not indicate which cases they are referring to. Additionally, the company claimed there is a risk that a state court may take control of the samples to give them to a “confederacy” of plaintiffs’ attorneys for testing, which would deny the company their own ability to test the product. According to the women in the MDL case, they haven’t formally requested the samples they need for testing yet and are still deciding which testing would be appropriate for their defense. The women pointed out there is no reason to assume the testing would be destructive and that an amount could be set aside for J&J’s own testing.
There are roughly 2,000 suits that are centralized by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation in October that accuse J&J of personal injury and wrongful death as a result of the side effects of the powder products. The case asks whether the talc-based powders cause ovarian or uterine cancer, if the company knew about the risk or should have known about the risk, if there is a correlation there, and if the company did enough to warn users of the risk.
If you have been injured or have long term damage from using a dangerous product, contact us today at Malamut & Associates. Our team will look over the facts of your case and inform your decision on your best course of action.