Johnson and Johnson loses another talcum powder lawsuit

Jun 2014
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Its a good question and one similar to why so far nobody has been able to go after Monsanto for glyphosate. Its speculated that it causes cancer but hasnt been proven. There are various cancer clusters near where its used heaviest but it cant be pinpointed. No easy answers once scientists say its cancer causing and people get cancer. I do know doctors have been warning against using it for a very long time. So they must have reasonable belief that it was bad.

It's not that simple. Sawdust is a known carcinogen, but we still have sawmills in operation. A carcinogen is not a magic bullet that delivers cancer to anyone with whom it makes contact. It is a substance that has a statistical correlation with an increase in cancer rates within a population. Contact with a carcinogen could be perfectly safe for some individuals while being absolutely deadly to others.
 
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Feb 2010
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Well, for one, an appeal. Which is already in the works.
Was just about to point that out.

The judgement strikes me as absolutely absurd. Suspect the conclusion to the case is still far in the future.
 

Wonderer

Moderator
May 2014
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Missouri
Was just about to point that out.

The judgement strikes me as absolutely absurd. Suspect the conclusion to the case is still far in the future.
Yes, and no. From what I've read thus far (and admittedly, have not had time to read much), the jury took into consideration the number of Plaintiffs (22) and basically gave them each $25 million for the underlying damages award. For the punitive damages,

They multiplied the roughly $70 million Johnson & Johnson earned selling baby powder in a recent year by the 43 years it’s been since the company claimed the baby powder did not contain asbestos, she said. Link
Even without an appeal, the punitive damages would be reduced, as statutorily, they are limited to 5 times the net amount of the judgment. (So, roughly $2.75 billion.) As far as the evidentiary basis for it, the jury must have believed that J&J knew of the presence of asbestos and hid/denied it.

Plaintiff's counsel "told the jurors they were the first to see internal company documents revealing knowledge of asbestos in products or failures to warn consumers." J&J stands by its denial of the presence of asbestos.

This, of course, is helping the City of St. Louis regain its reputation as a VERY plaintiff-friendly jurisdiction. (And why I spent the better part of the first half of my career fighting venue motions.)
 

johnflesh

Former Staff
Feb 2007
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Weirdo
Have no idea. Not sure if this is related to the older asbestos powder or not. Although even pediatricians don't recommend powdering a baby anymore. I guess they figure better safe than sorry? I remember when I was a kid, powder was all over, it seemed everyone used it. Now its not as prevalent.
That is exactly right, better safe than sorry especially when there are other alternatives. My eldest is 13 and even at his birth they said no talc.
 
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Jun 2014
64,781
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Cleveland, Ohio
Well, for one, an appeal. Which is already in the works.
Some of these verdicts have been reversed on appeal to date. Maybe they all will, and everything will be fine.

Usually, I don't worry about the due process rights of big corporations. But these cases are very concerning.

Billions in value and hundreds of thousands of jobs should not be lost to aggressive plaintiffs' lawyers on bad science.
 
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Wonderer

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May 2014
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Missouri
Not one of these verdicts has been reversed on appeal to date.
I'm sorry, but you're mistaken:

Previous talcum powder trials in St. Louis have ended in multimillion-dollar verdicts against Johnson & Johnson. Johnson & Johnson earned a defense verdict in one of those trials and a reversal last fall of a $72 million plaintiff’s verdict on appeal.

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court imposed limits on where injury lawsuits can be filed. In June, a Missouri appeals court threw out a $55 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson, citing the Supreme Court ruling. Link


(FWIW, these are coming down literally in my back yard and involve attorneys I know -- on both sides.)


On this, we agree.
 
Jun 2014
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39,656
Cleveland, Ohio
That is exactly right, better safe than sorry especially when there are other alternatives. My eldest is 13 and even at his birth they said no talc.
As they should, because talcum powder can be inhaled.

OTOH, so can flour, and pediatricians do not advise new parents to give up home baking (as far as I know.)
 

johnflesh

Former Staff
Feb 2007
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Weirdo
I keep seeing 'junk science', then just read how they do testing. So can anyone explain what they mean by junk science in this case? I'm interested to hear it.
 

johnflesh

Former Staff
Feb 2007
28,166
21,064
Weirdo
As they should, because talcum powder can be inhaled.

OTOH, so can flour, and pediatricians do not advise new parents to give up home baking (as far as I know.)
I don't see how that's relevant considering one is applied to the child's body and the other is not. But alright.
 
Jun 2014
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Cleveland, Ohio
I keep seeing 'junk science', then just read how they do testing. So can anyone explain what they mean by junk science in this case? I'm interested to hear it.
Most likely, the plaintiffs lawyers put forward proof that X number of women who have had ovarian cancer used talcum powder.

IOW, these two things occured at the same time, to the same women.

But that falls way, way, way short of proving causation.
 
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