On April 27, 2020, New Jersey District Court Judge Freda L. Wolfson ruled that most of the plaintiffs’ experts in the Talc Multidistrict Litigation (“MDL”) met the stringent scientific requirements of the Daubert standard. The ruling is being hailed as a major victory by the plaintiffs in the suit. Had Judge Wolfson granted in full the defendants' request to bar the plaintiffs’ expert testimony, the MDL would likely have collapsed.
In the opinion, the court ruled that the plaintiffs’ proposed expert epidemiologist and oncologist will be allowed to testify as to general causation—essentially, whether the defendants' talc products can cause ovarian cancer. The judge opined that while the defendants do not agree with plaintiffs’ experts’ interpretations of the studies used to form their opinion and their usefulness, such issues go to the weight of the experts’ testimony, and not their reliability. Similarly, the court found that microscopist William Longo will be allowed to testify as to whether he found asbestos in the defendant’s talc samples using transmission electron microscopy methods.
The Court did, however, limit the scope of the experts’ testimony. Dr. Longo is barred from testifying on his use of polarized light microscopy and the general causation experts are prohibited from testifying that it is possible for women to develop ovarian cancer from the inhalation of talc.
The case is: Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Products Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation, Case No.: 3:16-md-02738, in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.
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