On August 12, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) sent a letter asking U.S. District Judge Freda Wolfson, overseeing the talcum powder lawsuits, to appoint court-approved experts to assist jurors in understanding the link between talc and ovarian cancer.
According to the letter sent to the court, the defendant is seeking permission to file a motion to appoint an independent expert witness in the areas of epidemiology and cancer biology, who will help the jurors understand scientific issues in the litigation, as both the parties will be presenting “diametrically opposite scientific positions” about whether talc use can cause ovarian cancer.
Besides, the manufacturer also wants a panel of experts to answer the following questions:
Whether the scientific evidence, analyzed pursuant to the Bradford Hill framework or any other scientifically accepted methodology for assessing general causation, supports the conclusion that cosmetic talcum powder use can cause any subtype of ovarian cancer, and if so, which subtypes and at what dose.
Whether the plaintiffs’ biological mechanism theory that talc promotes inflammation and/or oxidative stress that leads to the development of epithelial ovarian cancer is consistent with what is known about the development of the various subtypes of ovarian cancer, and particularly what we know about ovarian cancer precursors such as STIC cells.
Whether it is possible to say that a particular woman’s talc use caused her to develop ovarian cancer, and if so, the method by which that causal conclusion can be reached.
The plaintiffs have already opposed the request, stating that the proposal raises significant constitutional concerns, and the questions that the defendant wants to be answered must be addressed by the jury.
The plaintiffs also noted that the proposal is merely an attempt to upend the detailed review that was issued by the presiding judge in April, which concluded the evidence and opinions based on sufficiently sound scientific findings.
Currently, J&J is facing more than 20,000 Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower lawsuits, each raising similar claims about the presence of asbestos and the risk of cancer.