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Michelle A. Parfitt of Ashcraft & Gerel Appointed Talcum Powder MDL Co-Lead Counsel

Michelle Parfitt

Michelle Parfitt, senior partner with Ashcraft & Gerel and Leigh O’Dell of Beasley Allen have been appointed by the Honorable Freda L. Wolfson of the U.S. District Court of New Jersey to serve as Co-Lead Counsel in In Re: Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Products Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2738. The Multidistrict Litigation follows in the wake of several recent judgments against Johnson & Johnson and their primary talc supplier, Imerys Talc America, Inc.

The lawsuits brought forth against Johnson & Johnson allege that the company’s talcum powder products (including Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower) are to blame for personal injuries or wrongful deaths resulting from the use of those products. Specifically, the cases concern the causal association between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. The plaintiffs claim that Johnson & Johnson failed to warn consumers about the cancer risks associated with its talc-based products. Scientific studies have shown that the frequent use of talcum powder in the genital area increases the risk of ovarian cancer between 30-60%.

In one case, a St. Louis jury awarded $72 million to the surviving family of Jacqueline Fox, who died of ovarian cancer after using Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower for feminine hygiene for over 35 years. Gloria Ristesund, who maintained that the use of Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products were to blame for her ovarian cancer, was awarded $55 million. Another St. Louis jury also found Johnson & Johnson liable in the case of Deborah Giannecchini, who was awarded over $70 million after developing ovarian cancer linked to the use of talcum powder products.

“I have spent my entire professional career advocating for the rights of consumers in the courts, especially in the area of women’s public health,” Parfitt said. “It remains an honor to receive the Court’s appointment as Co-Lead Counsel along with Leigh O’Dell of the Beasley Allen firm. It is my privilege to represent the thousands of women exposed to harmful talcum powder products manufactured, sold, and supplied by the defendants Johnson & Johnson and Imerys Talc America.

Despite decades of scientific and medical information that consistently establishes the carcinogenic effect of talcum powder when used in the genital area, Johnson & Johnson has failed to warn of the dangers of talc use. This conduct has placed women who use talcum powder in their genital areas at risk of serious injury or death from cancer. The leadership of this litigation will work in earnest to see that the rights of women and their families impacted by the defendants’ actions are vindicated.”

If you or someone you know have used Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products, please contact Ashcraft & Gerel at 800-829-7037 for an evaluation of your case.