Talcum Powder Ovarian Cancer Lawsuit Trial Ends With Hung Jury in Florida

Jury was deadlocked in the first trial over the talcum powder ovarian cancer side effects to be held since a stay was lifted when Johnson & Johnson's bankruptcy bids were rejected by the federal court system.

A Florida judge has declared a mistrial in the first talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuit to go before a jury since a two-year stay on all litigation was lifted, after the jury was unable to agree on whether Johnson & Johnson should be held liable for failing to warn about the cancer risks associated with their widely used products.

The lawsuit was originally filed by Bob Sugarman, on behalf of himself and his wife, Marilyn Seskin, who died from ovarian cancer in 2019, and was being closely watched to help gauge how juries may respond in more than 70,000 other Baby Powder lawsuits and Shower-to-Shower lawsuits being pursued against Johnson & Johnson, each involving similar allegations that asbestos particles in the talc-based powder caused women to develop ovarian cancer.

The jury deadlocked after a three-week trial and two days of deliberations before Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge William Thomas, which was the first ovarian cancer claim to go before a jury since a federal bankruptcy court rejected Johnson & Johnson’s controversial talcum powder bankruptcy scheme initiated in 2021, which attempted to transfer all liability it faced to a new subsidiary that was immediately placed into bankruptcy.

After multiple appeals and repeated filings over a nearly two-year period, the bankruptcy was ultimately rejected in August 2023, clearing the way for active talcum powder litigation to resume. While most of the U.S. claims are currently pending in a federal MDL, or multidistrict litigation, which has been centralized in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey since 2016, a number of individual cases were also able to move forward in various different state courts nationwide.

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Talcum powder or talc powder may cause women to develop ovarian cancer.

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Sugarman’s trial ended on Tuesday, after Judge Thomas was given a note by jurors indicating that they were not able to reach an agreement on a verdict. Judge Thomas has stated that he will schedule a retrial of the case next month.

March 2024 Talcum Powder Lawsuit Update

Given common questions of fact and law raised in complaints filed throughout the federal court system, all talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuits have been centralized in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey since 2016. However, just before the first jury trials were set to begin, Johnson & Johnson derailed the litigation by pursuing its failed bankruptcy maneuver.

Until August 2023, all proceedings in the litigation were barred under a bankruptcy stay. However, after U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Michael B. Kaplan rejected the second talcum powder bankruptcy filing in July 2023, after determining that it was “filed in bad faith” and that LTL Management still did not face financial distress requiring bankruptcy protections, progress is getting underway once again in a federal talcum powder MDL, which was initially established in 2016. The company proposed a talcum powder settlement during the stay which plaintiffs rejected as inadequate.

With the stay now lifted, plaintiffs lawyers and Johnson & Johnson are now preparing a group of ovarian cancer lawsuits for potential jury trials in the federal court system, which may begin sometime in 2024. In addition, a number of additional individual state court cases are expected to go before juries throughout the country.

While the results of these individual trials will not directly impact other cases, their verdicts are expected to greatly influence the potential settlement values that Johnson & Johnson could propose to avoid the need for each individual Baby Powder cancer lawsuit brought by consumers going to trial in the coming years.

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