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Talcum Powder Lawsuit Goes to Trial in Missouri

talcum-powder-lawsuit-trialWhile literally thousands of talcum powder lawsuits have been filed alleging a link between plaintiffs’ ovarian cancer and Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products, Nora Daniels’s talcum powder lawsuit is only the fourth to reach a courtroom in St. Louis.

The three previous trials all resulted in multimillion-dollar verdicts to women claiming that using Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder or Shower to Shower products for feminine hygiene caused them to develop ovarian cancer, according to New York Magazine. The talcum powder lawsuits accused Johnson & Johnson and their talc supplier Imerys of failing to inform consumers about the talcum powder-cancer link.

Studies have shown that there is a link between using talcum powder for feminine hygiene and the development of ovarian cancer. In 1971, the first study was published that claimed to have found talc particles within ovarian tumors.

The talcum powder lawsuits aim to prove that Johnson & Johnson knew the risks for ovarian cancer but failed to inform their consumers. One memo from 1992 specifically recognizes the “negative publicity from the health community on talc (inhalation, dust, negative doctor endorsement, cancer linkage).”

2,500 talcum powder lawsuits have been filed by women or their families with similar claims, according to Fortune Magazine.

The awards for the three women whose cases did go to trial in St. Louis have a combined total of around $195 million. Johnson & Johnson hopes to appeal those verdicts.

Opening statements began for Daniels’s trial on February 9, according to CBS St. Louis.

UPDATE: March 3, 2017

On Friday, March 3, jurors ruled against Nora Daniels and cleared Johnson & Johnson and Imerys of all responsibility for Daniels’ ovarian cancer, according to Courtroom View Network.

Jurors deliberated for seven hours before reaching a verdict. The verdict was not unanimous: eleven out of the twelve jurors signed the verdict. However, a unanimous verdict was unnecessary; only nine jurors needed to agree in this case.

Daniels’s lawyer emphasized the science behind the more than 30 studies tying talc to ovarian cancer over the past 30 years and argued that Johnson & Johnson had attempted to conceal the dangers of talc in a similar way to how tobacco companies once tried to conceal the dangers of smoking.

Johnson & Johnson’s lawyers denied the science behind the studies tying talc to ovarian cancer. Imerys lawyers argued that they did adequately warn clients like Johnson & Johnson of the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s classification of talc as “possibly carcinogenic” because they published that classification on their Material Safety Data Sheets given to each of their clients. Even though Imerys argued that they adequately warned clients of talc’s dangers, they also insisted that they do not believe that talc is dangerous.

Daniels’s loss breaks the streak of three wins for ovarian cancer victims against Johnson & Johnson in St. Louis court.