Johnson & Johnson must pay nearly $4.7 billion in total damages to the 22 women and their families who claim that their signature talcum powder products caused them to develop ovarian cancer, says a Missouri jury. According to data from Bloomberg, this verdict is the largest jury award in the U.S. so far in 2018. It is also the sixth-largest jury award in a product-defect lawsuit in U.S. history.
What’s the Problem with Talcum Powder?
Plaintiffs in the trial claimed that asbestos in the Johnson & Johnson’s talc products caused their cancer, and that the company knew that its talc products were contaminated and failed to warn the public of the dangers.
The debate over talc began over 40 years ago. In the early 1970s, scientists found talc particles in ovarian tumors in the early 1970s. In 1982, Harvard researcher Daniel Cramer reported a link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. Cramer was among the first researcher to publish results linking talc with ovarian cancer. Attorney Mark Davis, of Davis & Crump P.C. Attorneys at Law, said that at one point Cramer even advised J&J to put a warning label on its talc products.
“Talc, the softest known mineral, is sometimes contaminated by naturally occurring asbestos. Asbestos is a known carcinogen,” says Davis. At trial, evidence showed that J&J knew its talc products, including Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower Body Powder, were contaminated with asbestos but hid this information from the public. In closing arguments, jurors were told that J&J “rigged” tests to avoid showing the presence of asbestos in order to protect the image of Baby Powder, “their sacred cow.”
Johnson & Johnson’s Response
In a statement issued on the day of the verdict, J&J said that they are “deeply disappointed in the verdict.” They also stated that they remain confident that their products “do not contain asbestos and do not cause ovarian cancer” and that they intend to “pursue all available appellate remedies.”
J&J has faced multiple trials in Missouri over talc-ovarian cancer claims. Of these trials, they have lost four of the first five to go to trial. Two of these plaintiffs’ verdicts have been erased on appeal. Two others are currently on appeal.
Following trial, plaintiffs’ attorneys issued a press release saying, “The company should pull talc from the market before causing further anguish, harm, and death from a terrible disease. J&J sells the same powders in a marvelously safe corn starch variety. If J&J insists on continuing to sell talc, they should mark it with a serious warning.”
According to their latest quarterly report, as of April 1 approximately 9,100 cases were pending against Johnson & Johnson.
If someone you love has suffered from ovarian cancer after using Johnson’s Baby Powder or Shower to Shower Body Powder, our experienced team at Davis & Crump is here to help. Compensation may be available to victims for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages and other damages. Our attorneys and support staff protect your rights and interests throughout the litigation process.
Contact us today at 1.800.277.0300 or complete the free online consultation form now. There is no risk to you and there are no fees unless we win for you.