Johnson & Johnson Files Lawsuit Against Four Doctors Over Alleged Biased Opinions in Talc Defense Cases

Johnson & Johnson Files Lawsuit Against Four Doctors Over Alleged Biased Opinions in Talc Defense Cases

As Johnson & Johnson (J&J) seeks ways to address its talc-related legal challenges, the company has resorted to a new legal strategy: suing doctors who have linked its baby powder to cancer. J&J’s talc subsidiary, LTL Management, has filed two lawsuits against four doctors who authored studies suggesting a connection between J&J’s talc-based products and cancer. These lawsuits were filed in federal district court in New Jersey.

The recent lawsuit targets three doctors—Richard Lawrence Kradin, Theresa Swain Emory, and John Coulter Maddox. J&J claims that these doctors cited 75 individuals with malignant mesothelioma who were allegedly exposed to cancer-causing asbestos solely through the use of J&J’s talc products. However, J&J argues that at least six of the 75 individuals may have been exposed to asbestos through other means. In a separate lawsuit filed in May, J&J made similar allegations against New York physician Jacqueline Miriam Moline.

All the doctors named in the lawsuits have been called to testify in talc-related cases against J&J, and their studies have been utilized to support personal injury claims against the company. J&J’s legal chief, Erik Haas, stated that the second lawsuit was filed against three doctors who were allegedly paid by plaintiffs’ lawyers to purposely defame J&J’s products.

While J&J maintains that its talc products are safe, it has voluntarily removed its baby powder from shelves in the United States and Canada, and plans to do the same worldwide. The company currently sells a cornstarch version of the baby powder. Haas emphasized that the safety of J&J’s talcum powder products is supported by decades of evidence from independent experts, governments, and regulatory bodies.

J&J has faced mixed outcomes in court, with a highly publicized trial in Missouri resulting in a $4.7 billion verdict against the company in 2018, later reduced to $2.1 billion. J&J has lost nine talc trials that are either under appeal or have been resolved, while 32 out of 41 trials have resulted in wins for J&J, mistrials, or plaintiff verdicts that were overturned on appeal.

Last month, a New Jersey bankruptcy judge heard arguments regarding J&J’s second attempt at bankruptcy, which includes an $8.9 billion settlement offer to resolve tens of thousands of talc lawsuits. J&J’s initial Chapter 11 attempt was dismissed in April when the US appeals court determined that the company was not in the necessary financial distress to qualify for bankruptcy protection.

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