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“Talc and Ovarian Cancer: Why Juries are Rejecting the Science and Punishing Defendants,” USLAW

March 30, 2017
Joseph J. Welter

“According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and a host of healthcare associations, current scientific literature does not support the conclusion that perineal use of cosmetic talcum powder causes ovarian cancer.” writes Joseph J. Welter, Chair of Goldberg Segalla’s Toxic Tort and Environmental Practice Group.

In an article for USLAW, Joe analyzes why jurors continue to decide in the plaintiff’s favor even when presented with a strong, scientifically backed defense.

Looking at the science often cited in talc and ovarian cancer cases, Joe explains the methodological problems found in studies that cite talc as a risk-factor for developing ovarian cancer before stating, “The research cited by the defense includes three prospective cohort studies following tens of thousands of women who did not have ovarian cancer, over several decades.”

As Joe’s analysis of talc-related litigation continues, he points out, “Jury research conducted on methodological and statistical reasoning skills suggests that laypersons have great difficulty differentiating between valid and flawed research.” Highlighting the confusion many jurors face when listening to testimony from competing experts, as well as the appeal to emotion often employed by the plaintiff, Joe concludes his piece by stating, “Defendants must strategize new techniques for defending these cases, which should include winning the credibility war and developing demonstratives and arguments that can aid jurors in understanding and assimilating the underlying scientific research.”

Read the article here: