On July 12, a St. Louis jury deliberated for 8 hours before reaching a $4.69 billion verdict against Johnson & Johnson.
This was the latest in a string of cases against Johnson & Johnson regarding their Baby Powder and Shower to Shower talcum powder products. In this case, 22 women sued Johnson & Johnson, alleging these talcum powder products, marketed as part of a daily feminine hygiene routine, caused their ovarian cancer.
The jury awarded the plaintiffs $550 million and slammed Johnson & Johnson with $4.14 billion in punitive damages. Punitive damages exist to punish companies and discourage them from engaging in the behavior that led them to court.
How Does This Case Compare to Others?
Multiple talcum powder cases against Johnson & Johnson have gone before a jury with varying outcomes. All of them have essentially argued the same thing: that various studies since as far back as 1971 have pointed to the fact that there may be a link between talcum powder use and ovarian cancer, and that Johnson & Johnson did nothing to warn consumers about the potential risks involved with using their products.
These trials have seen varying degrees of success for the plaintiffs. Some cases that have ruled in favor of the victims have been overturned upon appeal. Others have run into complications with jurisdictional issues.
However, this trial appears to be the first case in which attorneys have successfully argued about a key part of the evidence: mainly, that Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products contain asbestos, a known carcinogen.
In this trial, scientists shared their discovery of talc and asbestos particles embedded in the ovarian cancer tissue. Whether or not talcum powder directly causes cancer is still up for scientific debate, but when it comes to asbestos, scientists agree that it is cancerous. Famously, asbestos is the same particle that causes mesothelioma, a cancer that typically affects the lungs or heart.
The jury heard weeks of testimony from a variety of individuals, including scientists, Johnson & Johnson workers, the ovarian cancer survivors themselves, and the loved ones of six victims who passed away from ovarian cancer.
The plaintiffs’ attorneys have argued that Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products should have at least been carrying warning labels, if not pulled from shelves completely. Johnson & Johnson continues to argue that this is unnecessary and that their product is completely safe.
Clearly, the jury disagreed.
Help from a Talcum Powder Attorney
If you or a loved one has suffered from ovarian cancer or mesothelioma while using a talcum powder product, you may be entitled to compensation. Hensley Legal Group can help. Call us today or contact us online for a free conversation about your claim.