A Connecticut lawsuit has been filed against Johnson & Johnson alleging a link between baby powder and ovarian cancer, in the wake of two recent court victories for the company.
Two multimillion-dollar verdicts against Johnson & Johnson were recently overturned, but attorneys for the estate of Patricia Agresta say their case will move forward.
In the latest lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Connecticut, attorneys for the estate maintain that more than 50 years of use of the powder by Agresta led to her ovarian cancer diagnosis in June 2011. She died from the disease two years ago.
Carmen Scott, the estate’s attorney, said she believes recent victories for Johnson & Johnson in California and Missouri will not impede the current complaint, which is expected to be transferred to the multidistrict litigation panel at the U.S. District Court in Trenton, New Jersey.
“Those reversals will not mean a dismissal down the road in our case,” said Scott, one of several attorneys representing the Agresta estate. “We will be presenting different evidence from the ones filed in other courts, and I feel very confident in our case.”
In October, a California judge tossed a $417 million talc verdict, citing “serious misconduct” on the part of the jury and insufficient evidence at trial. Also in October, a Missouri appeals court reversed a $72 million talcum powder verdict, citing a U.S. Supreme Court decision that could threaten to erase additional verdicts against the company in Missouri. The Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District found a Supreme Court decision in Bristol-Myers Squibb v. Superior Court required tossing the verdict, which had been issued in early 2016.
Scott, a member of Motley Rice, said her firm has filed about 100 similar cases across the country and will file several hundred more. In total, Scott told the Connecticut Law Tribune Monday, lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson number in the thousands.
Scott said it’s too early to say how much money she’s seeking for the Agresta estate
“We have not identified a specific number,” Scott said, “The amount requested will be based on a variety of factors that we are still developing.”
The 68-page lawsuit, like many of the lawsuits filed against the company over the years, cites studies linking the use of talcum with ovarian cancer. Among the studies cited in the latest lawsuit is a 1995 case study in Australia involving more than 1,600 women. The study found a statistically significant 27 percent increased risk in ovarian cancer for women who regularly used talc.
The lawsuit cites five counts: violation of the Product Liability Act within the Connecticut General Statutes; violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act within the Connecticut General Statutes; wrongful death; loss of consortium; and survival claim. Survival claim is a federal statute that allows a decedent’s estate to sue for injuries or damages suffered by the decedent immediately before they died.
Assisting Scott in the case are member Mathew Jasinski and associate Meghan Carter, both of Motley Rice.
Ernie Knewitz, media relations leader for Johnson & Johnson, did not respond to a request for comment Monday.