J&J Paying Millions to Plaintiffs in Talcum Powder Product Lawsuits

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Public Health Watchdog Breaking News
Public Health Watchdog Breaking News

Thousands of talcum powder lawsuits have been filed against Johnson & Johnson (J&J) alleging that J&J’s talcum products including Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower, caused ovarian cancer in plaintiffs. On May 31, 2017, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) ordered that four federal talcum powder cancer lawsuits be transferred to a New Jersey multidistrict litigation (MDL).

The federal court system frequently creates an MDL to consolidate large numbers of lawsuits with similar complaints to be tried in one court under one judge. This streamlined process helps to lower court costs, allows a faster outcome, and is typically more efficient.

Previous Lawsuits

Missouri’s 22nd Circuit Court in St. Louis, Missouri, consolidated about 1,000 talcum powder cases and similar complaints are pending in New Jersey, Delaware, and California. Additional talcum powder lawsuits were consolidated in New Jersey. Recent jury verdicts have cost J&J millions of dollars that they had to award plaintiffs for talcum powder lawsuits.

A St. Louis jury awarded a $110.5 million verdict in May 2017 against J&J in a talcum powder lawsuit filed by a woman in Virginia, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The St. Louis jury returned after little more than a full day of deliberations and awarded the largest verdict yet in compensatory and punitive damages from J&J. Johnson & Johnson posted a statement on its website defending the safety of its product and expressing their intention of appealing the $110.5 million verdict citing lack of credible scientific evidence behind plaintiffs’ allegations. The talc supplier Imerys, bore 1 percent of the blame and had to pay $50,000 in punitive damages, reports Law360.

St. Louis jury mega-verdicts in three J&J talcum powder cases in 2016 were $72 million in February, $70 million in October, and $55 million in May, that totaled $197 million, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Additional talc trials are set in St. Louis for July, with the first case to go to trial in July in California.

National law firm Parker Waichman LLP has extensive experience and success in representing all types of litigation, including talcum powder cancer cases. Attorneys at the firm are available to answer questions for any individuals seeking legal information for a potential lawsuit.

Minorities Allegedly Targeted to Buy J&J Talc Products

In a recent opening statement in the latest Missouri jury trial over J&J’s talc products, counsel for three women who died of ovarian cancer after using J&J’s products said that J&J boosted sales by targeting African-American women. Those representing the families of the deceased J&J talcum powder product users told the jury J&J had put its corporate image “over the life of their customers.”

This would be revealed by internal company documents that showed, that when its sales were flagging, the company especially targeted groups of women that used talc on their genital areas at a higher rate as part of their regular feminine hygiene routine. These groups included African-American women – women who have been revealed in studies to have an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer when using talc on their genital areas, according to Law360.

The jury was told that under law, J&J should have put a warning label on its baby powder and Shower-to-Shower products, warning customers, such as the now-deceased women, who would not have used the product on their genitals had there been such a warning. There was an implication that the reason the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other regulators had not made sure J&J put a warning label on its talc products was that J&J and its talc supplier and co-defendant Imery’s Talc America Inc., had engaged in a plot to influence regulators Law360 reports.

One of the deceased died at age 50 in 2010 while living in Missouri, after being diagnosed with cancer in 2008, according to a statement by her attorneys. The second woman was a resident of Virginia and died at age 46 in 2016, two years after she was diagnosed with cancer. The third woman was a 41-year-old Texas resident who died in 2016, after being diagnosed in 2008. The three women shared numerous similarities in their personal and medical histories that caused their claims to be consolidated for trial, reports Law360.

The three deceased women’s trial was presided over by St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Rex Burlison and is the sixth such trial over the alleged connection between J&J’s talcum powder products and ovarian cancer to go to trial in St. Louis. J&J has had to pay verdicts totaling over $300 million in the first group of cases involving the talc-ovarian cancer link to go to trial in St. Louis, Law360 reports.

Do You Seek Legal Advice Concerning Talc Products and Ovarian Cancer?

If you or someone you know has been affected by talcum powder products, you may have valuable legal rights. Parker Waichman LLP offers free, no-obligation case evaluations. We urge you to contact us at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).