U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson randomly selected 1,000 talcum powder cancer lawsuits for bellwether discovery procedures, initiating the first step towards the preparation for early trial dates in the federal court system.
Judge Wolfson announced the list of randomly selected cases on June 4, through a court order. According to the order, the plaintiffs named in the list of cases should produce a fully complete and verified Profile Form within 90 days, provide medical record retrieval authorizations, and promptly order and produce core records about their claims.
The way for the talcum powder lawsuits to proceed was cleared in April, after the attempt by the defendant, Johnson & Johnson (J&J), to exclude plaintiffs’ expert witness testimony was rejected. Judge Wolfson indicated that the evidence and opinions offered were sufficiently reliable under the federal Daubert standard to present the case to the juries.
Last month, J&J decided to stop selling its talcum-based products in the U.S. and Canada due to declined consumer demand and misinformation about the safety of the products.
More than 17,000 talcum powder and shower-to-shower lawsuits are filed against J&J, which are consolidated under multidistrict litigation MDL No. 2738, each raising similar claims that the manufacturer knew about the presence of asbestos and the risk of cancer, yet failed to warn consumers.