Stagg737

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So I was watching some trash TV during my lunch break today and saw a bunch of commercials for some of the various law groups in the area. Normally I'd just ignore them, but it caught my attention because they all were advertising for the same type of case and referenced 2 recent cases against Johnson and Johnson where the plaintiffs were each awarded over $50 million by a jury. The claim was that there was a study showing women got ovarian cancer from using talcum powder and that J&J was aware of this risk but did not include it on their products' labels.

If that's all true, then it seems pretty straightforward, but I've tried to look up some studies and everything I've seen has said the link is either inconclusive or just showed a "possible link". I was curious if anyone else had heard anything about this case or new of any studies that showed any stronger links. Also, if any of the posters with any legal experience can weigh in on whether they think the ruling is justified or if it'll get appealed I'd be interested.
 

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Yes, talc has some particularly notable issues associated with it's use. Bad for babies who may inhale it and get a pneumonitis leading to respiratory failure, the aforementioned issue with ovarian cancer and so on...
 
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cbrons

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Just scum lawyers that should've been hung still getting away with highway robbery. Nothing new here.
 
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Giovanotto

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Just scum lawyers that should've been hung still getting away with highway robbery. Nothing new here.
You mean, scum lawyers that hold corporations responsible for their deceptions? Super scum.
 
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deleted407021

Just scum lawyers that should've been hung still getting away with highway robbery. Nothing new here.
Pretty much this. Dr. Steve Novella talked about this on a recent Skeptic's Guide to the Universe podcast episode. Evidently, there's been shown to be an increased rate of cancer in women, something on the order of 1/100th of 1%, or an increase in overall cases of single digits out of a million. Essentially nothing but background noise.

But those lawyers managed to make a case for their clients, nonetheless. :rolleyes:
 
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cbrons

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You mean, scum lawyers that hold corporations responsible for their deceptions? Super scum.
Being a brainwashed, knee-jerk leftist, I could see why you would side with organisms that are of lower value to humanity than the sediment floating to the surface of a septic tank (malpractice/tort lawyers). This is a side effect of your mental disorder (left-wingerism) which causes you to view the world through the looking glass.

There is actually no good prospective cohort study which has shown that asbestos-free talcum powder increases the risk of ovarian cancer.

The lawyers (remember the septic tank image) are simply using the court system they created to steal money. If we lived in sane times, these brigands would be thrown in a deep, dark pit and never heard from again. But these aren't sane times, and these trial lawyer rats run the country.
 
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So I was watching some trash TV during my lunch break today and saw a bunch of commercials for some of the various law groups in the area. Normally I'd just ignore them, but it caught my attention because they all were advertising for the same type of case and referenced 2 recent cases against Johnson and Johnson where the plaintiffs were each awarded over $50 million by a jury. The claim was that there was a study showing women got ovarian cancer from using talcum powder and that J&J was aware of this risk but did not include it on their products' labels.

If that's all true, then it seems pretty straightforward, but I've tried to look up some studies and everything I've seen has said the link is either inconclusive or just showed a "possible link". I was curious if anyone else had heard anything about this case or new of any studies that showed any stronger links. Also, if any of the posters with any legal experience can weigh in on whether they think the ruling is justified or if it'll get appealed I'd be interested.

Yes..there are several studies that show the correlation between the talcum powder and ovarian cancer. The number of lawsuit are also increasing as several women are diagnosed with the ovarian cancer.

Talc Powder Lawsuit
 
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Stagg737

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Yes..there are several studies that show the correlation between the talcum powder and ovarian cancer. The number of lawsuit are also increasing as several women are diagnosed with the ovarian cancer.

Lol at this ^^^. Of course a random lawyer would come on and claim it to be true without referencing any actual studies and tell people they should consult a lawyer for any legal matter. I'm predicting 4 days before the banhammer comes down for spamming...
 
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jj216

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Being a brainwashed, knee-jerk leftist, I could see why you would side with organisms that are of lower value to humanity than the sediment floating to the surface of a septic tank (malpractice/tort lawyers). This is a side effect of your mental disorder (left-wingerism) which causes you to view the world through the looking glass.

There is actually no good prospective cohort study which has shown that asbestos-free talcum powder increases the risk of ovarian cancer.

The lawyers (remember the septic tank image) are simply using the court system they created to steal money. If we lived in sane times, these brigands would be thrown in a deep, dark pit and never heard from again. But these aren't sane times, and these trial lawyer rats run the country.

I find your generalizations regarding attorneys to be absolutely repulsive. I know you won't care, but since there aren't many lawyers browsing SDN I feel compelled to defend them when they come under attack by some small-minded student hiding behind his computer and an anonymous username. Attorneys are advocates for the vulnerable and exploited. They fight for those who cannot fight for themselves, such as abused children, injured persons needing compensation, and innocent persons wrongfully accused of crimes. They ensure that justice is served and liberty prevails. My mother is a loving wife, mom, and friend. She is also an attorney, and medical malpractice is one of her specialties. Her work has brought about important policy and procedure changes that will improve the care and even save the lives of future patients. She has been my biggest cheerleader along my journey towards a medical career, and I wouldn't be starting medical school in August had I not had her constant support and encouragement.

Keep in mind that for a medical malpractice lawsuit to succeed in trial, there has to be an expert witness who agrees that the defendant is at least partially at fault for the patient's injury or death. In other words, another physician (an expert in the specialty of interest) has to testify that the defendant physician/hospital treated the patient wrongly. Don't call trial lawyers rats unless you're willing to admit that there is an equal number of rats in medicine. Of course there are greedy lawyers who take on frivolous cases, but they are a minority. The majority of attorneys are good people who use their skills to help others (just like physicians). I am just beginning my medical career, but I understand and accept the liability that comes with practicing medicine. People in other professions are held accountable for negligence. Physicians and large corporations should not be immune.
 
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cbrons

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I find your generalizations regarding attorneys to be absolutely repulsive. I know you won't care, but since there aren't many lawyers browsing SDN I feel compelled to defend them when they come under attack by some small-minded student hiding behind his computer and an anonymous username. Attorneys are advocates for the vulnerable and exploited. They fight for those who cannot fight for themselves, such as abused children, injured persons needing compensation, and innocent persons wrongfully accused of crimes. They ensure that justice is served and liberty prevails. My mother is a loving wife, mom, and friend. She is also an attorney, and medical malpractice is one of her specialties. Her work has brought about important policy and procedure changes that will improve the care and even save the lives of future patients. She has been my biggest cheerleader along my journey towards a medical career, and I wouldn't be starting medical school in August had I not had her constant support and encouragement.

Keep in mind that for a medical malpractice lawsuit to succeed in trial, there has to be an expert witness who agrees that the defendant is at least partially at fault for the patient's injury or death. In other words, another physician (an expert in the specialty of interest) has to testify that the defendant physician/hospital treated the patient wrongly. Don't call trial lawyers rats unless you're willing to admit that there is an equal number of rats in medicine. Of course there are greedy lawyers who take on frivolous cases, but they are a minority. The majority of attorneys are good people who use their skills to help others (just like physicians). I am just beginning my medical career, but I understand and accept the liability that comes with practicing medicine. People in other professions are held accountable for negligence. Physicians and large corporations should not be immune.
Expert witness lol. They are oftentimes retired or disgraced physicians looking to join in the highway robbery. The majority of decent people know that the majority (not all but most) of trial lawyers especially personal injury and malpractice lawyers are the scum of the earth.

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themockjock

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women are diagnosed with the ovarian cancer

"The" ovarian cancer

"The" sugar

"The" pressure

"The" person who has never set foot inside a biology 101 classroom, let alone a medical school.
 
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jj216

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Expert witness lol. They are oftentimes retired or disgraced physicians looking to join in the highway robbery. The majority of decent people know that the majority (not all but most) of trial lawyers especially personal injury and malpractice lawyers are the scum of the earth.

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I assure you they aren't retired or disgraced. They are almost always academic physicians held in high regard by the medical community--otherwise their testimony would be worthless. Your statements are very telling of your ignorance and lack of knowledge concerning the issue at hand. How many trial lawyers do you know, professionally or personally?
 
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jj216

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I assure you they aren't retired or disgraced. They are almost always academic physicians held in high regard by the medical community--otherwise their testimony would be worthless. Your statements are very telling of your ignorance and lack of knowledge concerning the issue at hand. How many trial lawyers do you know, professionally or personally?

I also want to make it clear that I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with you on the talcum powder/cancer issue. I just saw a group of people being attacked and felt the need to defend them in their absence.
 

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I assure you they aren't retired or disgraced. They are almost always academic physicians held in high regard by the medical community--otherwise their testimony would be worthless. Your statements are very telling of your ignorance and lack of knowledge concerning the issue at hand. How many trial lawyers do you know, professionally or personally?
Held in high regard? Many of them are officially censored by their boarded speciality organizations, because just like the lawyers themselves are highly unscrupulous individuals willing the lie and twist the truth in an effort to get 12 uneducated people to steal money on their behalf.

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Being a brainwashed, knee-jerk leftist, I could see why you would side with organisms that are of lower value to humanity than the sediment floating to the surface of a septic tank (malpractice/tort lawyers). This is a side effect of your mental disorder (left-wingerism) which causes you to view the world through the looking glass.

There is actually no good prospective cohort study which has shown that asbestos-free talcum powder increases the risk of ovarian cancer.

The lawyers (remember the septic tank image) are simply using the court system they created to steal money. If we lived in sane times, these brigands would be thrown in a deep, dark pit and never heard from again. But these aren't sane times, and these trial lawyer rats run the country.

Sounds to me like you are dangerously close to lobbying for more regulations. Careful!
 

nowanmd

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I find your generalizations regarding attorneys to be absolutely repulsive. I know you won't care, but since there aren't many lawyers browsing SDN I feel compelled to defend them when they come under attack by some small-minded student hiding behind his computer and an anonymous username. Attorneys are advocates for the vulnerable and exploited. They fight for those who cannot fight for themselves, such as abused children, injured persons needing compensation, and innocent persons wrongfully accused of crimes. They ensure that justice is served and liberty prevails. My mother is a loving wife, mom, and friend. She is also an attorney, and medical malpractice is one of her specialties. Her work has brought about important policy and procedure changes that will improve the care and even save the lives of future patients. She has been my biggest cheerleader along my journey towards a medical career, and I wouldn't be starting medical school in August had I not had her constant support and encouragement.

Keep in mind that for a medical malpractice lawsuit to succeed in trial, there has to be an expert witness who agrees that the defendant is at least partially at fault for the patient's injury or death. In other words, another physician (an expert in the specialty of interest) has to testify that the defendant physician/hospital treated the patient wrongly. Don't call trial lawyers rats unless you're willing to admit that there is an equal number of rats in medicine. Of course there are greedy lawyers who take on frivolous cases, but they are a minority. The majority of attorneys are good people who use their skills to help others (just like physicians). I am just beginning my medical career, but I understand and accept the liability that comes with practicing medicine. People in other professions are held accountable for negligence. Physicians and large corporations should not be immune.
I am sure that many lawyers have integrity- however after 17 years of PRACTICING medicine I can tell you that the system facilitates frivolous law suits. Many attorneys hope that medical defendants will settle to avoid trial. Over the course of your career you may have to attend depositions for suits that you really had nothing to do with. Most of the time the suits are dismissed, but you still have to waste your time and being sued can cause great angst. Our country is in dire need of tort reform and think your views are naive. You may think differently when you reach my stage. But good luck to you.
 
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jj216

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I am sure that many lawyers have integrity- however after 17 years of PRACTICING medicine I can tell you that the system facilitates frivolous law suits. Many attorneys hope that medical defendants will settle to avoid trial. Over the course of your career you may have to attend depositions for suits that you really had nothing to do with. Most of the time the suits are dismissed, but you still have to waste your time and being sued can cause great angst. Our country is in dire need of tort reform and think your views are naive. You may think differently when you reach my stage. But good luck to you.

Thank you for sounding slightly more reasonable than cbrons. After 17 years of practicing medicine, you're bound to have a skewed perception of lawyers. I'm sorry that malpractice lawsuits have caused you great angst. Try to imagine the angst that families of patients lost to medical error feel. Try to imagine the angst that patients injured by medical error feel when trying to pay back medical bills. Because I have a different perspective than you, I doubt I will feel differently on this issue when I reach your stage. As I said before, I understand and accept the liability that comes with caring for human lives. Some states, through tort reform, have done a very good job of curtailing frivolous suits. I have been raised in one of those states. I won't be posting anymore on this thread because I am going to enjoy my Independence Day weekend. As you celebrate this holiday, remember to thank a lawyer for fighting to make sure the liberties that you enjoy are upheld.


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Speaking as a former lawyer and now doctor (with no love of medical malpractice suits) I hate to break it to you but the people you guys really have a beef with are other doctors. Lawyers don't create any of the theories behind these lawsuits. They will readily admit they don't know squat about science, do not read scientific literature looking for ideas, and completely rely on doctors to point them in the direction of suits and tell them if there's a case. This isn't "their" theory, some doctor came up with it. If a lawyer is on TV looking for clients to file suits based on a correlation between talcum powder and ovarian cancer, it's only because some doctor told them this is true and that he and others like him will line up to testify to that assertion in court. Basically lawyers are hired guns, but empty of ammo -- it completely takes a doctor to provide every bullet here. So to be honest lawyers are really just greedy pawns of the guys you really should be calling scumbags, and they are in our own field.
 
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jazzmetal

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Interesting thread. I'm researching this "talc on trial" question for a (premed) cancer biology course. I first looked into how a substance gets labeled a carcinogen. The IARC (Int'l Agency for Research on Cancer, iarc.fr) labels talc a possible carcinogen in certain contexts (i.e., using talcum powder for so-called feminine hygiene). In the US, the NTP (National Toxicology Program, https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov) keeps a list with only two categories: known carcinogens and probable carcinogens. Talc is not on either of those lists. Then I switched gears to look at the complaint in one of the recent talc cases in which the plaintiff got a large award from the jury. Keeping in mind that I have not read the answer yet, the complaint makes several troubling assertions, including that Johnson & Johnson formed a trade association in response to the growing complaints, and that trade association edited some of the scientific research presented to the NTP when it was determining whether to list talc as a carcinogen or not. Again, I have not read the answer yet, so I can't say on how Johnson & Johnson responded to this, although jury members have been quoted as saying that the plaintiff's evidence was pretty damning, and in fact they awarded around twice what the plaintiff had asked for in punitive damages. I then turned back the workings of the NTP - when founded in 1980 or so, they had a council of 35 scientists and a budget of about $200M+, and were investigating 240+ possible carcinogens. Fast forward to today: they are looking at 4 possible carcinogens, 23 of their council seats are empty, and their annual budget is $26,000. One of the 12 filled seats is held by a senior employee of Johnson & Johnson.

There aren't good cohort studies, it's true, but the one that exists found a 33% increased risk of ovarian cancer. Also, doctors have found talc inside of ovarian tumors. Seems to me enough to warrant more research. My own view is that even if talc doesn't cause ovarian cancer, Johnson & Johnson should be held accountable for trying to screw with the process, if they indeed did so.

I sat on a jury once for an asbestos/mesothelioma trial. I thought the plaintiff's lawyer in that particular case, with that particular set of facts, was only there to throw spaghetti at the wall to see what would stick. He admitted in his opening statement that he had no direct evidence that the plaintiff had ever come into contact with the defendant's product, and his firm was a known "asbestos mill." In that case, he didn't get much from our jury. On the other hand, forty years ago, every defendant in every one of these kinds of cases claimed that breathing asbestos was perfectly safe. We know now that it is not.

Is talc the new asbestos? Probably not, but I'd like to see more studies and stronger funding for the NTP (on the connection between talc and ovarian cancer; hopefully we can all agree that no one should be breathing it in). I can also post here again when I've done more research, including reading more of the legal pleadings. But the notion that all plaintiff's lawyers are scum, therefore talc can't possibly cause cancer - come on. You have to respect the evidence, even if it's delivered by someone in a bad polyester suit.
 
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Law2Doc

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Interesting thread. I'm researching this "talc on trial" question for a (premed) cancer biology course. I first looked into how a substance gets labeled a carcinogen. The IARC (Int'l Agency for Research on Cancer, iarc.fr) labels talc a possible carcinogen in certain contexts (i.e., using talcum powder for so-called feminine hygiene). In the US, the NTP (National Toxicology Program, https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov) keeps a list with only two categories: known carcinogens and probable carcinogens. Talc is not on either of those lists. Then I switched gears to look at the complaint in one of the recent talc cases in which the plaintiff got a large award from the jury. Keeping in mind that I have not read the answer yet, the complaint makes several troubling assertions, including that Johnson & Johnson formed a trade association in response to the growing complaints, and that trade association edited some of the scientific research presented to the NTP when it was determining whether to list talc as a carcinogen or not. Again, I have not read the answer yet, so I can't say on how Johnson & Johnson responded to this, although jury members have been quoted as saying that the plaintiff's evidence was pretty damning, and in fact they awarded around twice what the plaintiff had asked for in punitive damages. I then turned back the workings of the NTP - when founded in 1980 or so, they had a council of 35 scientists and a budget of about $200M+, and were investigating 240+ possible carcinogens. Fast forward to today: they are looking at 4 possible carcinogens, 23 of their council seats are empty, and their annual budget is $26,000. One of the 12 filled seats is held by a senior employee of Johnson & Johnson.

There aren't good cohort studies, it's true, but the one that exists found a 33% increased risk of ovarian cancer. Also, doctors have found talc inside of ovarian tumors. Seems to me enough to warrant more research. My own view is that even if talc doesn't cause ovarian cancer, Johnson & Johnson should be held accountable for trying to screw with the process, if they indeed did so.

I sat on a jury once for an asbestos/mesothelioma trial. I thought the plaintiff's lawyer in that particular case, with that particular set of facts, was only there to throw spaghetti at the wall to see what would stick. He admitted in his opening statement that he had no direct evidence that the plaintiff had ever come into contact with the defendant's product, and his firm was a known "asbestos mill." In that case, he didn't get much from our jury. On the other hand, forty years ago, every defendant in every one of these kinds of cases claimed that breathing asbestos was perfectly safe. We know now that it is not.

Is talc the new asbestos? Probably not, but I'd like to see more studies and stronger funding for the NTP (on the connection between talc and ovarian cancer; hopefully we can all agree that no one should be breathing it in). I can also post here again when I've done more research, including reading more of the legal pleadings. But the notion that all plaintiff's lawyers are scum, therefore talc can't possibly cause cancer - come on. You have to respect the evidence, even if it's delivered by someone in a bad polyester suit.
You yourself state that the evidence "seems enough to warrant more research". But these cases are being filed NOW, and doctors are testifying under oath that their professional medical opinion is that, based on CURRENT scientific evidence, talc causes ovarian cancer. Therein lies the problem. You've got a bunch of rogue doctors who are going to misstate the state of the science to make an extra couple hundred dollars an hour.
 
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jazzmetal

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@Law2Doc - Like I said, I haven't read the answer or the rest of the pleadings (or the original research papers, yet), so I have no idea what the doctors testified to, or whether they in fact misstated the science. What I do think is a problem is that Johnson & Johnson's trade association might have doctored the research. It sounds like that's what the juries reacted to. I've seen regulatory capture in action first hand in a different context – it's messed up and can cause real harm to real people. Anyway, I'd be happy to post again once I'm done reading everything. If the research was in fact tampered with, then it would be Johnson & Johnson misstating the science to make a buck, right? By all means, if you've read more about this than I have, I'd be very interested in the details.
 
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Law2Doc

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@Law2Doc - Like I said, I haven't read the answer or the rest of the pleadings (or the original research papers, yet), so I have no idea what the doctors testified to, or whether they in fact misstated the science. What I do think is a problem is that Johnson & Johnson's trade association might have doctored the research. It sounds like that's what the juries reacted to. I've seen regulatory capture in action first hand in a different context – it's messed up and can cause real harm to real people. Anyway, I'd be happy to post again once I'm done reading everything. If the research was in fact tampered with, then it would be Johnson & Johnson misstating the science to make a buck, right? By all means, if you've read more about this than I have, I'd be very interested in the details.
Meh. I think you (and plaintiffs) are trying to mix different allegations in a way the law doesn't intend. There are two things alleged here -- did J&J behave inappropriately through actions of "their" trade association, and does talc cause ovarian cancer. (You raise a phrase "tampering with research" but I think that's drawing a conclusion that doesn't fit the facts or how a trade association functions anyhow, BTW).

Its not uncommon for juries to come down hard on companies because there's evidence they acted unethically, even if the claim itself wasn't proven, but that's actually "wrong" from a legal point of view -- there's really only one issue before the court here -- did this product cause the cancer in this plaintiff. That's what doctors are being asked to testify to and that's all the case is about. Since frankly that's tough to prove, this whole subverting (not tampering) research argument is being made, and it's likely a smokescreen, a bastardization of the legal process.

Plaintiff has cancer and defendant is unscrupulous so the jury should award plaintiff money, lack of evidence notwithstanding. This isn't similar to the tobacco and asbestos cases but you can bet the defendants are being painted that (as "tampering with research" like you are concluding) same way. And the lynch pin of the case is of course the expert witness doctor who we know is making up crap if he says the science is clear on this.
 
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jazzmetal

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Meh. I think you (and plaintiffs) are trying to mix different allegations in a way the law doesn't intend. There are two things alleged here -- did J&J behave inappropriately through actions of "their" trade association, and does talc cause ovarian cancer. (You raise a phrase "tampering with research" but I think that's drawing a conclusion that doesn't fit the facts or how a trade association functions anyhow, BTW).

Its not uncommon for juries to come down hard on companies because there's evidence they acted unethically, even if the claim itself wasn't proven, but that's actually "wrong" from a legal point of view -- there's really only one issue before the court here -- did this product cause the cancer in this plaintiff. That's what doctors are being asked to testify to and that's all the case is about. Since frankly that's tough to prove, this whole subverting (not tampering) research argument is being made, and it's likely a smokescreen, a bastardization of the legal process.

Plaintiff has cancer and defendant is unscrupulous so the jury should award plaintiff money, lack of evidence notwithstanding. This isn't similar to the tobacco and asbestos cases but you can bet the defendants are being painted that (as "tampering with research" like you are concluding) same way. And the lynch pin of the case is of course the expert witness doctor who we know is making up crap if he says the science is clear on this.

Actually, I don't think wrongful death was part of the claim. It was for fraud and failure to warn. Also - again, not having read the answer - the complaint asserts that J&J formed the trade association that sponsored and controlled the research. This was a "trade association" specific to the safety of talc. I didn't raise the phrase "tampering with evidence" - the complaint did. I'm not drawing any conclusions yet. What I said was that *if* it was true, then J&J should be held accountable.

I find it peculiar when people have so much respect for details and evidence in one context, and so little in another. Each case has its own claims and its own set of facts, just like clinical research. Making generalizations and assumptions are definitely not what the law (or science) is about.
 
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