The 62-year-old plaintiff suffering from cancer was too sick to be present in the court room to hear the verdict in her favor being read. A St. Louis jury delivered a landmark verdict of $110,000,000 in the case where Johnson & Johnson (J&J) was cited for “reprehensible” actions in selling cancer-causing talcum powder to women.
Talc Lawsuit Background
The plaintiff from Virginia said she used J&J’s Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower talc products for over 40 years. This was part of her daily feminine hygiene routine, before she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012.
The plaintiff’s cancer has since spread to her liver causing her to be too ill to attend the trial. She won $5.4 million in compensatory damages and $105 million in punitive damages. The plaintiff’s lawsuit cites an array of studies going as far back as the 1970s that indicate the existence of a link between talc and ovarian cancer, along with internal J&J documents that show that company executives allegedly had knowledge of this research. Despite the ongoing research, J&J allegedly engaged in an intense promotional campaign to ensure regulators did not officially declare talc a carcinogen.
Upcoming Talc Lawsuits
The plaintiff’s lawsuit is among over 1,000 filed in St. Louis by women across the United States who are taking advantage of a Missouri law that permits suits to be filed there by plaintiffs who do not reside or work in that state.
The trial was in the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court of Missouri before Judge Rex Burlison. Additional talc trials are set in St. Louis for June and July, with the first case in California slated to go to trial in July.
An additional 233 lawsuits are pending before U.S. District Judge Freda L Wolfson against J&J in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in New Jersey. MDLs are often created where lawsuits are grouped together with similar complaints to be heard in one court before one judge. This streamlines the process by lowering court costs, eliminating duplicate discovery, allowing a faster outcome, and is generally more efficient.
National law firm Parker Waichman LLP has extensive and successful experience in product liability litigation, including talcum powder’s alleged link to ovarian cancer. Attorneys at the firm are available to answer questions for individuals seeking legal information for potential lawsuits.
Fourth Verdict Award Against J&J
J&J has allegedly known about ovarian cancer risks since the 1970s, and this was the fourth enormous verdict delivered against the global company. In 2016, juries returned verdicts of $72 million, $70 million, and $55 million in lawsuits against J&J filed by women with ovarian cancer. The St. Louis jury returned this latest verdict in favor of the plaintiff in all her claims including conspiracy, negligence, and breach of implied warranty.
Imerys Talc America, the talc supplier for J&J, was also held liable by the jury for the amount of $100,000. Imerys has placed health warnings on the material safety data sheets for their talc. However, J&J has never put a health warning on it talc-based Baby Powder or Shower-to-Shower products.
It was noted during the trial that J&J is a $70 billion company and that the only way the company may do anything about changing its warning policy is through monetary damages. Evidence at the trial revealed that J&J put corporate profits ahead of consumer safety. The mega company was accused of ignoring scientific evidence and continuing to deny their responsibilities to the women of America.
Studies dating as far back as 1971 and 1982 revealed there was a connection between talc and ovarian cancer. In 1971, British researchers examined 13 ovarian tumors and found talc residue was “deeply imbedded” in 10 of them. This was the first study that suggested a link between talc and ovarian cancer, according to Bloomberg News.
Research has suggested that talc particles from powder applied to the genital area by women using it as a part of their feminine hygiene regimen, can travel through the vagina, uterus, and fallopian tubes to the ovaries. The particles may create conditions conducive to cancer cell growth.
Talc is a mineral that consists of the elements magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. It is used to absorb moisture and cut down on friction. Talc is a common natural ingredient found in cosmetic products such as baby powder, adult body and facial powder.
J&J’s talc-based products are classified as cosmetics, and are therefore, not in the category to undergo a review or approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), according to BioSpace.com.
Legal Advice and Information Concerning Talc-Based Products
If you or someone you know has become ill as a result of using a Johnson & Johnson talc-based product, you may be eligible for valuable compensation. Parker Waichman LLP offers free, no-obligation case evaluations. We urge you to contact the personal injury lawyers at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).