Johnson & Johnson Ordered to Pay $72 Million in Talcum Powder Lawsuit Linked to Ovarian Cancer

Posted by JTB Law Group, LLC on Saturday, September 17th, 2016


Johnson & Johnson, one of the most recognizable brands in the global personal care industry, has found itself in the middle of a heated talcum powder controversy. The corporation has been ordered to pay a grand total of $72 million to the family of a woman who blamed her ovarian cancer on the famous J&J talcum powder. There have been multiple claims over the talcum-ovarian cancer link and the product’s lack of safety, but this now the talcum litigation is actually coming back with verdicts where independent juries have found that there is a link between the baby powder and ovarian (epithelial) cancer.

The jurors in St. Louis found it reasonable for J&J to pay $10 million in compensatory damages and another $62 million as a punishment award to the family of Jackie Fox, the ovarian cancer patient who passed away in 2015. She was a frequent user of Johnson’s baby powder and other talc-based baby powder products.

J&J is the world’s largest producer of healthcare products. The company was aware of the claims well before it was ordered to pay the damages. As a matter of fact, Johnson & Johnson has known for decades that people were seriously concerned about the risk of its talc-based products causing cancer. Despite that, the company never issued an official warning to its consumers nor did it take the products off the shelf. Furthermore, studies connecting ovarian cancer to talcum powder use were not acknowledged by Johnson & Johnson, which lead to further claims about the company’s disregard for consumer safety.

The comments made by Johnson & Johnson following the court order were disappointing to say the least for numerous unhappy consumers who were expecting an apology and a change in policy from the company.

“We have no higher responsibility than the health and safety of consumers and we are disappointed with the outcome of the trial. We sympathize with the plaintiff’s family but believe that the safety of the cosmetic talc is supported by decades of scientific evidence” are the words that came from Carol Goodrich, a J&J spokeswoman.

The statement clearly shows that Johnson & Johnson is still refusing to acknowledge the claims of its consumers and the multiple studies that have exposed the link between talcum powder use and ovarian cancer development.

The $72 million settlement will not mark the end of J&J’s legal troubles. At this point in time, there are at least 1,200 lawsuits against the company and its unsafe talc-based products. The women who are suing the company firmly believe that Johnson & Johnson were aware of the risk and failed to warn the consumers.

Even though Johnson & Johnson remain adamant in their belief that the family of the deceased Jackie Fox were unable to prove that the use of their talcum powder caused or contributed to the development of ovarian cancer, the jurors believe that the company’s internal documents were decisive enough for them to reach the verdict following hours of deliberations.

In the words of Krista Smith, the jury foreman, “It was really clear they were hiding something. All they had to do was put a warning label on.”

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