In a verdict announced late Monday night, a Missouri state jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $72 million of damages to the family of a woman whose death from ovarian cancer was linked to her use of the company’s talc-based Baby Powder and Shower to Shower for several decades. The circuit court of St. Louis awarded the family of Jacqueline Fox $10 million of actual damages and $62 million of punitive damages, according to the family’s lawyers and court records. Jurors found Johnson & Johnson liable for fraud, negligence and conspiracy.
Johnson & Johnson has over 1,000 lawsuits alleging that they failed to warn women about the risk of developing ovarian cancer when using these products near the genitals. It is believed that talc powder, when used near the genitals, can travel to the ovaries and become embedded in the ovarian tissue. While talc is a natural mineral, it is very difficult for the body to remove the particles and, as a result, inflammation may occur and cancerous tumors may form.
Both the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society consider talc use near the genitals as a “risk factor” for ovarian cancer. Despite the mounting evidence of serious health affects with genital use of talcum powder, major manufacturers of talcum powder products do not warn consumers of the potential dangers.
All lawsuits in the New Jersey state court system have been transferred to a single court for coordinated proceedings. At least 65 different baby powder cancer lawsuits have been consolidated into a single multi-county litigation, or MCL, in Atlantic County. New Jersey is expected to host hundreds and perhaps thousands more such claims as plaintiffs seek to litigate in the home state of defendant Johnson & Johnson. Plaintiffs in the MCL are generally women who developed ovarian cancer after years of using talcum powder products like Johnson’s Baby Powder or Shower to Shower, both made by defendant Johnson & Johnson.
The American Cancer Society estimates that 22,000 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year, and over 14,000 will die from the disease. Ovarian cancer is one of the deadliest cancers because symptoms are mild and vague, which tends to delay diagnosis until it is difficult or impossible to cure. Following are some ovarian cancer symptoms:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
- Frequent bloating
- Pain in the belly or pelvis
- Abdominal pressure, fullness, swelling
- Changes in bowel or bladder habits
- Persistent fatigue
- Low back pain
- Loss of appetite or feeling full
If you or someone you know was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, you should contact an experienced attorney for a free consultation. You may be able to file a lawsuit separate from the class action through which you can seek compensation for any damages stemming from a cancer diagnosis such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering or funeral expenses. If you believe you may have a claim related to talcum powder, please feel free to contact one of our experienced lawyers today for a free consultation at 1-866-327-2952.
As a partner with D'Arcy Johnson Day, Andrew D'Arcy has been involved in some of the nation’s most high-profile cases and investigations. His practice includes serious automobile accidents, medical malpractice, wrongful death and product defect cases. Andrew has been personally responsible for numerous multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts on behalf of his clients. He has been recognized by his peers as an "AV" rated attorney, the highest possible rating given by Martindale-Hubbell publication. Andrew has been named a "Super Lawyer" by New Jersey Monthly magazine each year consistently since 2013.