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Claimant Seeks Class Action Status for Talc Lawsuit

court houseA plaintiff who recently filed a talcum powder lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson involving their talc-based products has also laid grounds for the possibility of a class action to be formed.

The plaintiff in this case states that the hundreds and possibly thousands of women who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer as a result of using these products could benefit from a joint filing. She is now seeking the class action for herself and these other women, to speed the legal process and make it more efficient for all parties involved.

Shintelle Joseph filed her complaint in Louisiana District Court on September 7. Like the other plaintiffs she is referring to, Joseph states that she began using Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products when she was young and continued using them throughout most of her life. After applying the talcum powder to her perineal region for more than a decade, Joseph was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2006.

Joseph alleges that her ovarian cancer diagnosis was a direct result of her use of talcum powder products. She further claims that Johnson & Johnson did not provide any type of warning on their product label to alert women to the potential risk.

Talc class action lawsuit

In her complaint, Joseph notes that there are ample grounds for the formation of a class action lawsuit as well. First, Joseph attests to the fact that while she does not know precisely how many women are taking similar legal action, the members of the class are so “numerous and geographically dispersed,” making other types of coordinated action less practical. The plaintiff also claims that the defendant should have a more precise number of pending litigation that would make the class action easier to construct.

Joseph states that talc cases filed against Johnson & Johnson feature common questions of law and fact. Plaintiffs involved in the litigation have all used the same products and have suffered very similar injuries as a result. Common questions include whether the defendant had a duty to provide proper warning about the risks associated with their products and whether the defendant willfully concealed evidence that the products were potentially harmful.

Joseph asserts that her complaint can serve the interests of the class with her own personal allegations since they are very similar to the allegations offered in other lawsuits. She also puts forth that class action is the “superior method” of coordinating common claims and preventing duplicate “evidence, effort and expense.”

History of allegations against J&J

Johnson & Johnson has been facing scrutiny about the safety of talcum power products like Baby Powder and Shower to Shower for some time. Women are claiming that use of the products in the perineal region increases risk of epithelial ovarian cancer. Despite claims by the pharmaceutical giant that the products are completely safe, plaintiffs cite more than 30 years of research that suggests otherwise. In fact, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has determined there is a credible connection between talcum powder and ovarian cancer.

In addition to the request for the class action, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation is planning to hear oral arguments this month that will help them decide whether to coordinate federal cases against Johnson & Johnson into multidistrict litigation. Multidistrict litigation coordinates cases to be heard by a single judge, but all of the lawsuits remain separate, unlike a class action that binds all claimants to one settlement or jury verdict.


  1. New York Times, Lawsuits over Baby Powder Raise Questions about Cancer Risk,
  2. Live Science, Does Talcum Powder Cause Ovarian Cancer,
  3. CNN, Talcum Powder’s Links to Ovarian Cancer: What it Really Means,