In an order issued on October 3, federal judges transferred 54 lawsuits pending in at least 23 district courts nationwide into one court.
The cases will be centralized under U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson in the District of New Jersey — Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2738).
The lawsuits all involve women who were diagnosed with ovarian cancer or uterine cancer after using talcum powder products, such as Johnson’s Baby Powder or Shower-to-Shower.
Lawyers say Johnson & Johnson has known since the 1980s that talc is potentially carcinogenic when used genitally, but chose to increase marketing efforts toward black and Hispanic women rather than issue warnings.
The company continues to insist talc is safe, and has posted a fact sheet on its website to reassure women who use their products.
Around 2,000 women with cancer have filed lawsuits in various state courts around the nation. Two trials earlier this year ended in a $72 million award for a woman who died of ovarian cancer, followed just three months later by a $55 million award for another woman who survived.
Johnson & Johnson is headquartered in New Jersey and over 200 lawsuits are already pending at the state level in Atlantic County — In Re: Talc Based Body Powder Product Litigation.