Earlier this month, a Missouri jury returned a verdict assessing $110 million in damages against household product maker Johnson & Johnson in a lawsuit regarding its talcum powder products. This litigation marked the fifth trial that the company has faced regarding whether or not these products lead to the development of ovarian cancer. The plaintiff in this lawsuit, a woman from Virginia, alleged that she used the company’s talc-based products for over four decades and developed ovarian cancer as a result. The plaintiff was required to undergo chemotherapy after she was diagnosed with cancer, which later spread to her liver. In her complaint, the plaintiff specifically identified Johnson & Johnson’s Shower Powder and Baby Powder products.
The talcum powder that Johnson & Johnson uses for its talc-based products is sourced from a company called Imerys Talc America. This company is owned by another company based in Paris.
Currently, there are over 2,000 lawsuits containing similar allegations pending against Johnson & Johnson. One of the primary causes of action asserted in the complaints is that Johnson & Johnson failed to provide adequate warnings regarding the potential risk of developing certain cancers from the use of its talc-based products, despite evidence available at the time the product was marketed suggesting a linkage. These lawsuits are mostly still pending in St. Louis, Missouri.
When it comes to dangerous products, there are a variety of causes of action that a victim can assert against the product maker, including negligence, product liability, and breach of implied and express warranties.
This recent verdict is the largest verdict that has been awarded against the company regarding the talc products to date. Of the four prior trials, three culminated in awards totaling an aggregate of $197 million. The jury awards amounted to $72 million, $70 million, and $50 million, respectively. In one of the trials, the jury assessed 99 percent of the liability to Johnson & Johnson and only one percent of the liability to Imerys. Additionally, Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay another $105 million in punitive damages. Punitive damages is a category of damages that is intended to punish a defendant for engaging in willful, wanton, or reckless conduct. Unlike compensatory damages, which compensate the plaintiff for expenses associated with his or her injuries, punitive damages are intended to dissuade similarly situated parties from engaging in the same conduct.
In response to media reports and other news sources discussing the alleged link between talc-based products and cancer, Johnson & Johnson has expressed its condolences and sympathy for women who have been diagnosed with cancer. Regarding the verdicts, however, the company has made it clear that it intends to pursue an appeal.
If you believe you have developed cancer as a result of using Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based products, you may be entitled to compensation. At Moll Law Group, our talcum powder attorneys have substantial experience assisting victims throughout the United States, including in Illinois, Florida, Texas, and California, with investigating their potential product liability claims and seeking the justice that they deserve. We offer a free consultation to help you learn more about your legal rights and how we may be able to assist you. To set up your appointment, contact us now at 312-462-1700 or contact us online to get started.