The trial of the first of more than 300 ovarian cancer lawsuits involving Johnson & Johnson's talcum powder products started on July 10 in Los Angeles Superior Court.
The case was filed by 63-year-old Eva Echeverria, a California resident, who claims she developed ovarian cancer in 2007 after using J&J’s talc products since the 1950s.
The case is Eva Echeverria v. Johnson & Johnson, Case No. BC628228 and the coordinated proceeding is Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Cases, Case No. JCCP4872, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles.
Mark P. Robinson Jr. and Kevin F. Calcagnie of Robinson Calcagnie Inc.
are representing Echeverria.
"This trial is vitally important, as it is considered a bellwether case. The verdict in this lawsuit could provide insight into how juries might decide similar claims pending in California's talcum powder litigation," says Sandy A. Liebhard, a partner at Bernstein Liebhard LLP, a nationwide law firm representing victims of defective medical devices, drugs and consumer products.
Johnson & Johnson has been named a defendant in more than 3,000 talcum powder lawsuits currently pending in courts around the country, all of which were filed by women who allegedly developed ovarian cancer after the regular use of the company's talc-based powders for feminine hygiene purposes. Plaintiffs claim that Johnson & Johnson officials were aware of research published as early the 1970s that suggested such a link, yet failed to warn the public to protect it profits derived from its Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower product lines.
In federal mass tort litigation, J&J is facing 415 lawsuits in MDL 2738 in New Jersey, supervised by US District Judge Freda L. Wolfson, IN RE: Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Products Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation.
The California trial will be the first convened outside of Missouri's 22nd Circuit Court in St. Louis, where one of the nation's largest talcum powder litigations is currently underway. So far, only one Missouri jury has rendered a verdict in favor of Johnson & Johnson. Plaintiffs in four cases have been awarded compensatory and punitive damages amounting to $110 million, $70 million, $72 million and $55 million. A mistrial was declared in the state's sixth trial just last month. (Case No. 1422-CC09326-01).