Johnson & Johnson unsuccessful in preventing experts from testifying
ATLANTA – A Georgia state court judge has rejected attempts by Johnson & Johnson to exclude three medical experts from testifying about links between Baby Powder use and ovarian cancer, setting the stage for a July trial in which J&J will again face questions about the safety of the company’s talc-based products.
Attorneys for Johnson & Johnson had challenged the credentials, expertise, and scientific methodology of three experts who are expected to testify on behalf of the family of a Georgia woman who died of ovarian cancer. According to the lawsuit, Fulton County resident Diane Brower used J&J’s Baby Powder for feminine hygiene twice a day beginning when she was a teenager. She was diagnosed with Stage III ovarian cancer in 2013 and died three years later at age 65.
Georgia state courts follow the same standard as federal courts to qualify witnesses as experts. Lawyers for J&J sought to exclude testimony of Laura Plunkett, PhD, a board-certified pharmacologist, toxicologist and regulatory expert; Dr. John Godleski, a pathology professor in the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard School of Public Health; and Dr. James Barter, director of Gynecologic Oncology Research at Holy Cross Hospital in Rockville, Maryland. In her March 26 ruling, Judge Jane Morrison rejected those challenges and will allow all three to testify in the upcoming jury trial, scheduled to begin on July 15.
“These medical experts are world-class in their specialties, and their opinions are based on expertise sharpened through rigorous and objective scientific training,” said trial attorney Ted Meadows of the Beasley Allen law firm. “For too long, J&J has ignored concerns from the medical community about Baby Powder and cancer. We’re pleased that jurors will have an opportunity to hear from these experts.”
The case is The estate of Diane Brower et al. v Johnson & Johnson Inc. et al., Case No. 16EV005534 in the State Court of Fulton County Georgia.
The trial will be the first time a Georgia jury will hear such a case. Juries in six previous talc-ovarian cancer trials in other states have agreed that J&J’s Baby Powder contributed to an ovarian cancer diagnosis, and that the company knew of the association and failed to warn consumers.
In July, a St. Louis jury returned a $4.69 billion verdict – including $4.14 billion in punitive damages– on behalf of 22 women diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Johnson & Johnson has appealed the verdicts, some of which have been overturned based on technical challenges regarding jurisdiction, but none have been overturned on the question of cancer causation or the company’s wrongful conduct.
About the Beasley Allen Law Firm
Headquartered in Montgomery, Ala., Beasley Allen is comprised of more than 70 attorneys and 200 support staff. One of the largest Plaintiffs law firms in the country, Beasley Allen is a national leader in civil litigation, with verdicts and settlements in excess of $26 billion. For more information visit www.beasleyallen.com.