The federal court uses multidistrict litigation (MDL) to manage large numbers of similar cases by transferring them to a single judge for pre-trial discovery.
The lawsuit Anastasia Paniagua et al v. Johnson & Johnson et al, Case No. 4:17-cv-00232, US District Court, Western District of Missouri was originally filed Jan. 31, 2017 in Jackson County Missouri Circuit Court by 14 people from 12 states against Johnson & Johnson, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies and three other companies on behalf of themselves or their deceased relatives.
The plaintiffs claimed that Johnson & Johnson's Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower products caused ovarian cancer. The lawsuit, which Johnson & Johnson removed from state court to Missouri Western District federal court on Mar. 31, was one of thousands of talcum powder lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson in state and federal courts nationwide.
Approximately 1,000 talcum powder cases were consolidated in Missouri's 22nd Circuit Court in St. Louis, Missouri. Similar complaints are pending in New Jersey, Delaware and California, and more federal talcum powder lawsuits were consolidated in a multidistrict litigation in New Jersey, MDL 2738.
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In a motion for removal of the Jackson County lawsuit to federal court, attorneys for Johnson & Johnson gave notice of their intention to attempt to seek transfer of the case to the New Jersey MDL.
In the past year, St. Louis juries awarded $70 million to plaintiffs in one lawsuit trial against Johnson & Johnson, $72 million in another proceeding and $55 million in an earlier trial. In another case in March 2017, a jury in St. Louis found in favor of Johnson & Johnson in the case of a woman who claimed that Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder caused her ovarian cancer.
There are currently two upcoming trials for talcum powder lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson scheduled within the next few months in St. Louis.