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Jury Awards $70 Million to Victim of Talcum Powder

On Behalf of | Dec 1, 2016 | Product Liability

On October 27, 2016, a jury awarded a California woman more than $70 million in a lawsuit filed against talcum powder manufacturer Johnson & Johnson. This decision brings the total awards for three ovarian cancer victims in talcum powder lawsuits in 2016 to nearly $200 million. Nearly 2,000 additional suits have been filed claiming primarily that Johnson & Johnson was aware of the possible link between the long-term use of talcum powder and ovarian cancer, yet continued to market talc-based Baby Powder and Shower to Shower without warning consumers.

Talcum powder is used for a variety of hygienic and cosmetic purposes, as it is recognized for its absorbent properties. Yet, for many years, scientists have studied the various ways in which talc may influence the development of cancer throughout different parts of the body. According to the American Cancer Society, there remains concern as to whether long-term exposure to talc fibers could increase the risk of ovarian cancer when regularly applied around the genital area.

Johnson & Johnson manufactures talc based products such as Baby Powder and Shower to Shower. These products have been used in millions of consumer homes since their introduction into the market decades ago. Recent lawsuits claim, however, that more than two thousand women who used Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products regularly over extended periods of time, developed ovarian cancer. Plaintiffs’ attorneys in these lawsuits also allege that J&J was aware of the increased risk associated with the powders’ use near the genital area, yet continued to market the product, specifically with an emphasis towards African American and Hispanic women. Learn more about the talcum powder lawsuits here.

A jury decision made in February ordered J&J to pay the family of one cancer victim $72 million in compensatory and punitive damages. These jurors found J&J liable for fraud, negligence and conspiracy—a decision that was based largely on internal documents revealed during the trial, demonstrating that J&J knew of the risks as early as 1982, but 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.”

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and had continuously used talcum powder prior to, you may be able to seek compensation for your suffering. The Law Offices of Peter Angelos is reviewing claims that the talc used in Johnson & Johnson’s products–including Baby Powder and Shower to Shower–has contributed to the development of ovarian cancer in consumers across Maryland and the nation. Contact us for more information, or to schedule a free consultation.