A medical researcher who has been a plaintiff’s expert witness in more than 200 Johnson & Johnson (J&J) talc cancer cases has asked a court to dismiss a lawsuit filed against her by J&J. 

Dr. Jacqueline Moline authored a 2019 study that linked J&J’s cosmetic talc products to cancer and said in a filing in federal court in Trenton, NJ that her research “is sound and protected by free speech rights,” Discourse on Development (DOD) reported. Moline accuses J&J of bringing forth the lawsuit to "intimidate" her and scientific experts in general. 

“Scientific conclusions based on accurate descriptions of the data and methodology used to develop them are protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution's protections for free speech and academic freedom,” according to Moline's court filing, per DOD. 

Moline was sued in May by J&J, which has also filed suit against three other researchers in July, alleging that the researchers published faulty research that harmed J&J’s reputation. The basis of the lawsuits, according to J&J, is that the subjects in the research studies had been exposed to asbestos from other sources. 

Facing more than 38,000 similar lawsuits alleging that its talc products were contaminated with asbestos and either caused ovarian cancer or mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lungs, J&J has defended itself in the litigation by arguing that its talc products are safe and free of asbestos, despite a 2019 recall of 33,000 bottles of the company’s iconic and now discontinued talcum baby powder, and a 2018 investigation by Reuters that showed based on internal documents that J&J knew for decades that its talc products could be contaminated with asbestos, a mineral found in close proximity naturally to talc.

In an attempt to end the talc litigation, J&J created a subsidiary company, LTL Management, and offloaded its talc liabilities onto LTL, which subsequently filed for bankruptcy. J&J was to fund a global $8 billion settlement under the bankruptcy, ending all current and future lawsuits alleging that talc causes cancer. However, court rulings have denied J&J’s first two efforts to have its subunit qualify for bankruptcy protection, with the first attempt including a $2 billion settlement offer. 

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