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$4.69 Billion Verdict Against Johnson & Johnson in Talcum Powder Lawsuits

Yesterday, a St. Louis jury found Johnson & Johnson liable for $4.69 billion in compensatory and punitive damages. The jury sided with 22 plaintiffs who alleged that the use of the company’s talcum powder products caused their ovarian cancer.

On Thursday July 13, 2018, a St. Louis Circuit Court jury sided with 22 plaintiffs who alleged that Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based products caused them to develop dangerous and deadly forms of ovarian cancer. The court has ordered Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Johnson & Johnson Consumer Co. to pay $550 million in compensatory and $4.14 billion in punitive damages.

Johnson & Johnson Found Liable for Injuries

After hearing the expert testimony and arguments of both sides over the course of a six-week trial, the jury returned from deliberations with a verdict in favor of the 22 women and their families who filed against J&J. The decision held the company and its subsidiary liable for negligence and strict liability for the injuries sustained due to long-term use of Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products, including Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower.

Plaintiffs brought claims asserting both that regular and consistent exposure to talc itself can cause ovarian cancer and that the talc within the J&J products was contaminated with asbestos, a mineral known to cause mesothelioma. Both allegations are echoed in thousands of other similar lawsuits currently filed against Johnson & Johnson.

Plaintiffs Allege Johnson & Johnson Knew of the Risks

There are more than 9,000 lawsuits across the country claiming that Johnson & Johnson was aware of the risks related to long-term talcum powder use and the possible contamination of asbestos in its talc-based products, yet failed to warn consumers. In the recent St. Louis trial, the plaintiffs presented evidence that Johnson & Johnson made efforts to cover up data and studies that clearly indicated the talc in the company’s products was contaminated with asbestos. Other similar lawsuits have provided evidence, including internal company documents, that Johnson & Johnson knew of the risks as early as 1982, and made no attempts to warn consumers. One such document—a 1997 internal memo from a Johnson & Johnson medical consultant—suggested that those individuals who denied the link between talc use and ovarian cancer could be publicly perceived in the same light as those who denied a link between smoking cigarettes and cancer: “Denying the obvious in the face of all evidence to the contrary.”

The Law Offices of Peter Angelos is currently representing women who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products, including Baby Powder and Shower to Shower, for many years.  If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, mesothelioma or any other type of cancer, and previously used Johnson & Johnson talc-based products on or near genital areas, contact our lawyers for a no cost consultation.