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Judge Prohibits Certain Plaintiffs Testimonies from J&J’s Talc Ovarian Cancer Trials

Published on 2020-04-29. Edited By : SpecialChem

TAGS:  Skin Care    

Judge_Jhonson_Baby_PowderJohnson & Johnson has announced that U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson, chief judge of the District of New Jersey, who is presiding over the federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) involving claims that Johnson’s Baby Powder causes ovarian cancer, decided that certain plaintiff expert witnesses did not present scientifically sound evidence to support aspects of their opinions and therefore cannot present these theories before a jury.

Restrictions on Certain Plaintiffs' Theories

The Company is pleased the decision did not limit the testimony of any of the Company’s expert witnesses despite efforts by plaintiffs’ lawyers to do so. Further, the Company is pleased that plaintiffs will have significant restrictions on what theories its experts can present before the jury.

Importantly, Judge Wolfson limited the testimony of plaintiffs’ asbestos testing expert, Dr. William Longo, and held that another expert, Dr. Ghassen Saed, cannot testify that his experiments showed that talc can cause ovarian cancer.

The Daubert decision is not a determination by the court on the validity of the plaintiff’s allegations. Johnson & Johnson will continue to defend these lawsuits at trial, and plaintiffs must meet their burden of proof, including both general and specific causation, at any trial that may be scheduled. The Company is prepared to shine a light on the flaws in plaintiff experts’ opinions in front of juries, just as it has in state court cases.

Judge Wolfson’s Opinions to Limit Certain Plaintiff Experts

Among other findings, the opinion states that:

  • According to Judge Wolfson, plaintiffs’ key biology expert Dr. Ghassen Saed’s opinion that “the use of talc causes ovarian cancer” is “unsupported by the findings of his study” and is an “unreliable” conclusion.
  • Plaintiffs’ asbestos testing expert, Dr. William Longo, cannot testify about the results of his polarized light microscopy (PLM) due to “real reliability and reproducibility issues plaguing Dr. Longo’s PLM testing.”
  • Dr. Longo cannot testify that women who used talcum powder were exposed to “significant” amounts of asbestos because he “fails to offer any scientific support for his opinion that the use of Defendants' talc products causes exposure, let alone significant exposure, to asbestos.”
  • Plaintiffs cannot put before a jury their theory that inhalation of talc can cause ovarian cancer, due to the “scant” or “very little support” offered by plaintiffs’ experts for that theory.

Source: Johnson & Johnson
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