A former communications director for Johnson & Johnson (J&J) will be deposed in a talcum baby powder cancer trial, despite J&J’s attempt to block the deposition.
For those following talc litigation, the name John McKeegan may be familiar. The former J&J director of communications, McKeegan worked for J&J from 1997-2002, and has faced talc-litigation questions at least four times, according to Law360.com.
A group of women who claim they developed ovarian cancer because of J&J’s asbestos-contaminated talc powder sought McKeegan’s testimony because they have a new “theory” related to their lawsuit and plan on posing new questions to McKeegan.
J&J attempted to block McKeegan’s deposition based on three reasons: he hasn’t worked for the company for decades; if he were to be deposed, his testimony will likely repeat much of his previous depositions, and because he couldn’t remember several facts that occurred over two decades ago.
However, Superior Court Judge John C. Porto opined that these facts didn’t matter because the women will present McKeegan with new questions.
Although the plaintiffs’ lawsuits (consolidated under the same litigation) are proceeding in a St. Louis court, the motion to subpoena McKeegan was forwarded to a New Jersey court because he lives there.
But the plaintiffs argued that it wasn’t an undue burden for McKeegan to appear virtually, via Zoom. Furthermore, plaintiff’s attorneys referenced emails that suggested McKeegan was heavily involved in talc litigation issues while he helmed J&J communication.
This is yet another setback for J&J when it comes to talc litigation, albeit a small one in comparison to last month, when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a $2.1 billion talc powder verdict that was awarded to 21 women.