Johnson & Johnson has lost several major lawsuits over allegations that asbestos in its talcum powder contributes to ovarian cancer. For example, in a 2018 lawsuit, a St. Louis jury awarded almost $4.7 billion in total damages to 22 women and their families.
As a strategy, the company has tried to get 2,400 of its state-court cancer lawsuits transferred to a federal court in Delaware. This would allow it to develop a single defense strategy. However, U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika in Wilmington, Del. dismissed the request yesterday, “noting that the world’s largest maker of health care products is partly responsible for the boomlet of litigation over its transfer strategy that it now characterizes as a crisis,” reports Bloomberg.
J&J hoped that by invoking the legal rights of its talc supplier, Imerys Talc America, now bankrupt, it would create quicker trials and claims resolutions. But Noreika stated in her decision, “J&J cannot establish an emergency. J&J’s desire to centralize its own state-law litigation does not justify the finding of an emergency.”