Five plaintiffs’ expert witnesses in talc-related claims against Johnson & Johnson will be allowed to testify in front of juries, U.S. District Judge Freda Wolfson in New Jersey ruled in late April 2020.
The ruling comes as Johnson & Johnson is facing over 16,000 lawsuits from people who claim that asbestos contamination in some of the company’s talc products, such as baby powder, contributed to their ovarian cancer.
Internal documents from Johnson & Johnson showed that the company knowingly hid information that their talc products might have been tainted by carcinogens, according to an investigation by Reuters. Nonetheless, Johnson & Johnson has repeatedly denied these claims, and continues to affirm that scientific evidence shows that its talc products are safe.
In fact, the company had asked the court to prevent the plaintiffs’ expert witnesses from testifying on links between talc and cancer because they argued that the witnesses based their claims on “junk science.” This argument comes despite the fact that two of the expert witnesses approved by Judge Wolfson have testified before Congress on talc product safety.
The judge’s decision follows the Daubert standard for admitting expert testimony. This standard allows witnesses to testify as experts if:
- They qualify as an expert because of their experience, knowledge, training, skill, or education on the issue at hand.
- Their specialized knowledge will help the jury understand evidence or determine facts in the case.
- Their testimony is sufficiently data-based or fact-based.
- The testimony is the product of reliable methods and principles that the witness has reliably applied to the facts of the case.
The landmark decision on scientific evidence is the first such ruling by a federal judge in talc trials. The cleared witnesses include research professors in epidemiology, cancer prevention, environmental health, and gynecologic oncology, as well as a specialist in the analysis of asbestos.
Per this ruling, the experts will be allowed to provide testimony that Johnson & Johnson’s talc products might be contaminated with asbestos. They may also testify on epidemiological studies that show that genital use of products contaminated with asbestos could cause ovarian cancer. However, they will not be allowed to provide testimony that inhaled talc might travel to the ovaries and cause cancer.
Judge Wolfson’s ruling is a big win for the thousands of victims who claim that they’ve been harmed by these defective talc products. Expert testimony can help strengthen the plaintiffs’ case against the company and might help in settlement negotiations.
If you think you might have been harmed by a dangerous or defective product like the plaintiffs in these talc cases, The Law Offices of Dr. Michael M. Wilson M.D., J.D. & Associates is here to help. With more than 30 years of experience and a track record that includes over $100 million in settlements and verdicts, we’re ready to help victims who have been harmed by reckless and negligent companies and individuals.
We’re dedicated to helping clients stand up for their rights and fight for the compensation they deserve. We are prepared to do the same for you. Call us today or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
Dr. Michael M. Wilson is an attorney and a physician who earned his undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his legal and medical degrees from Georgetown University. He has focused in the area of medical malpractice for more than three decades and secured more than $100 million in settlements and verdicts on behalf of clients throughout the country. He is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and New York as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and the U.S. Supreme Court. He is listed in America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators.