10/01/2019 - US Expert Witness News: 5 expert witnesses for the plaintiff to Johnson and Johnson's 3 experts

The outcome of the hearings will determine whether the 12,000 federal lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson are credible enough to go to trial. Those lawsuits are currently in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) overseen by U.S. District Court Judge Freda Wolfson.

The Judge is pausing her decision until after each party submits written statements of up to 80 pages and within 45 days after transcripts of the hearings come available.

During the Daubert hearings, plaintiffs presented five experts to Johnson & Johnson's three. Among those called by the plaintiffs was a gynecologic oncologist and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Dr. Daniel Clarke-Pearson. Beasley Allen attorney Leigh O'Dell, who is serving as Co-Lead Counsel for the MDL, began the line of direct questioning by establishing Clarke-Pearson's experience. His expert experience includes publishing more than 200 peer-reviewed manuscripts, writing dozens of medical textbook chapters and the editing of three medical textbooks. He said he performed a 'Bradford Hill' analysis which is the criteria to provide epidemiologic evidence of the presumed cause and observed effect) and a, "systemic review of the relevant literature, including peer-reviewed papers, original research, case-controlled studies, meta-analysis studies and systemic analyses."

Clarke-Pearson concluded that “the use of talcum powder products, including those manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, when applied to the female perineum, is a causative factor in the development of epithelial ovarian cancer," and puts women who used talc in this way at an overall increased risk of developing ovarian cancer of between 20% and 60%.

Pharmaceutical and personal care product giant Johnson & Johnson currently faces about 12,000 lawsuits from cancer patients. The plaintiffs claim that the talc in Johnson & Johnson's baby powder was contaminated with asbestos, asbestiform fibers, or both. Exposure to this contamination, they argue, caused them to develop various types of cancer, including ovarian cancer and mesothelioma.

A prolific expert whose testimony is vital to asbestos lawsuits over talcum powder has already been found to have lied on the stand according to Legal NewsLine and failed to disclose the questionable history behind his most important samples, Johnson & Johnson said in a motion to dismiss a lawsuit currently in trial in New York.

Dr. William Longo's testimony should be stricken because he falsely stated he first tested talc for asbestos in 2017, J&J said in its motion. The expert, who provides testimony in hundreds of asbestos cases a year, testified in at least two lawsuits in the early 2000s that his laboratory had tested cosmetic talc for asbestos and found none, according to deposition transcripts J&J filed with its motion.

Plaintiff lawyers also failed to reveal that decades-old talcum powder samples they said came from a "collector" actually were provided by a close relative — described by Longo in another trial as the father of a lawyer closely involved in talc litigation.

Longo's testimony is critical to the case because other experts rely upon his findings to assert that asbestos in baby powder caused their client's mesothelioma, a deadly cancer of the pleural lining typically associated with industrial asbestos exposure.

Johnson & Johnson denies its talcum powder ever contained asbestos.

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