On Monday, August 21st, a Los Angeles jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $417 million in compensatory and punitive damages to a woman suffering from terminal ovarian cancer. The sum is the largest yet awarded to a plaintiff in a series of ongoing talcum powder lawsuits across the United States.
The Plaintiff, Mrs. Eva Echeverria, presented evidence that her life-long use of Johnson’s Baby Powder caused her ovarian cancer, and that despite being aware of the links between talcum powder and cancer, Johnson & Johnson failed to warn consumers of these risks. Mrs. Echeverria was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007 after more than fifty years of using talcum powder in her perineal area.
A key piece of evidence presented in Echeverria’s trial, and other previous talcum powder lawsuits, is a collection of Johnson & Johnson internal documents, which demonstrate the company was aware of the risks related to talcum powder use as early as the 1980’s, and made no attempts to warn consumers. One such document—a 1997 internal memo from a Johnson & Johnson medical consultant cited in previous lawsuits—suggests 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.”
Although talcum powder has been used for decades in a variety of cosmetic and hygienic applications, there have been concerns about its safety since the 1970s, when scientists began reporting a possible connection between the long-term use of talcum powder in the genital area and increased risks of developing ovarian cancer. In recent years, research has consistently shown a statistically significant increased risk of ovarian cancer among regular talcum powder users.
The Law Offices of Peter Angelos is currently reviewing claims that Johnson & Johnson was aware of the link between the talc used in its Baby Powder and Shower to Shower and the development of ovarian cancer, yet failed to adequately warn consumers of the risks. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and previously used Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based products on or near the genital area, contact our experienced attorneys for a no cost consultation.