Class action lawsuits have their place. The concept has a complicated and storied past, but suffice it to say that class action lawsuits come into play when a large number of people have the same complaint about a defendant.
In case you missed it, mega drug maker Johnson & Johnson has been to trial twice in the last few months, racking up $127 million in payable damages. Both trials concerned women who were diagnosed with ovarian cancer after years of using Johnson & Johnson products that contained talc. The company continues to insist that talc is safe while juries are unanimously siding with the plaintiffs.
Why no class action?
Johnson & Johnson’s talc issue seems like a prime target for a class action lawsuit, but the devil is in the details. Fortune reported, “About 1,200 similar cases are pending. But the facts are different in every one.” In every case, a plaintiff will have to establish a history of use and a timeline of diagnosis. This will be different for every woman.
The science behind these claims has existed for more than 40 years. It started as small case sample studies and the investigations and studies have grown larger and more complex through the years. In 2015, there was a study that looked at many other studies and compiled data showing that women exposed to talc over time, developed ovarian cancer at a much higher rate than the general population not exposed to talc.
In addition, Johnson & Johnson believes it can win these cases. The company is spending a great deal of money in defending these cases at the litigation stage. In our humble opinion, that money could be better spent on a warning label after a brief conference with a public relations firm.
Justice would be ill-served
With over a thousand lawsuits pending, Johnson & Johnson is facing years of litigation. A class action lawsuit would be incredibly difficult to coordinate in consideration of the various circumstances.
The heart of the matter is simple. Johnson & Johnson continues to deny any liability whatsoever in regard to its talc products. The company could have avoided the media circus, the allegations and the litigation by the simple expedient of adding a warning label and acknowledging the possibility of a link to ovarian cancer.
Their refusal to accept responsibility means that they have yet to accept accountability for the large numbers of women they have exposed to a greater chance of ovarian cancer. Companies that ignore the voices of the people they serve are companies that may get punished.
If you or a loved one was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, call 803-327-7800 or contact the experienced South Carolina defective product attorneys at McGowan, Hood & Felder, LLC, today for a free consultation.
Randy is the former President of the South Carolina Association for Justice. He has been certified by the American Board of Professional Liability as a specialist in Medical Malpractice Law which is recognized by the South Carolina Bar. Randy has also been awarded the distinction of being a “Super Lawyer” 10 times in the last decade. He has over 25 years of experience helping injured people fight back against corporations, hospitals and wrong-doers.
Read more about S. Randall Hood