A New Jersey state appeals court revived a pair of suits that allege talc products from Johnson & Johnson caused two women to develop ovarian cancer, saying the trial court judge was wrong in dismissing the women’s experts’ opinions.
“The trial judge was called upon to assess whether the opinions were the product of reliable data and employed methodologies accepted by the scientific community,” the panel wrote. “Instead, he selected defendants’ scientific methodologies over plaintiffs’, a process well beyond the gatekeeping function and which resulted in an abuse of discretion.”
The trial court granted summary judgement to J&J and Imerys Talc America in 2016, finding that although Brandi Carl and Diana Balderrama’s experts were qualified, testimony from Dr. Graham Colditz and Dr. Daniel Cramer suffered from a slew of problems, such as the “narrowness and shallowness” of the scientific inquiries and evidence.
Both Cramer and Colditz’s explanations for how they interpreted and relied on studies on the link between talc and ovarian cancer were consistent with court standards. With their expert testimony reinstated, a dispute of material fact exists, and therefore the summary judgement must be reversed so the case can proceed.
“We have been fighting this fight for these courageous women since 2014 and are proud to be vindicated after all these years,” the plaintiffs’ attorney said. “Johnson & Johnson did the right thing earlier this year by removing talcum powder for the American shelves. Now it’s time to compensate these women and accept full responsibility.”
In 2015, the state Supreme Court granted multi-county litigation status to more than 100 suits over the talc products, with Carl’s and Balderrama’s actions selected as the first two to be tried.