In February 2016, jurors in the circuit court of St. Louis awarded the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer $72 million dollars as a result of a lawsuit filed against Johnson & Johnson.  This was one of the first cases in the country where Johnson & Johnson was found liable for its product, despite knowing for years that talcum powder may put users at an increased risk for ovarian cancer.

Lawsuit Claims Talcum Powder Puts Users at Increased Risk of Ovarian Cancer

Tiffany Hogans, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson, et al. was filed on August 8th in 2014 as a civil action lawsuit. It was brought by over sixty women from thirty-three states against Johnson & Johnson, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc., Imerys Talc America, Inc., and Personal Care Products Council. The case was heard in State Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis in Missouri.  

At the heart of this case was the Plaintiffs’ claim that they developed ovarian cancer as a result of using Johnson & Johnson talcum powder, and that J&J failed to warn of this known risk.

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Allegations against Talcum Powder Defendants

Jacqueline Fox’s claim is part of a larger, consolidated case where women and their families allege J&J and other defendants committed wrongful conduct in research, development, testing, manufacture, production, promotion, distribution, marketing, and sale of talcum powder. The allegations included claims for:

  • Strict liability for Failure to Warn – The women, in this case, claimed that at all times Talc and Johnson & Johnson should have known of the unreasonably dangerous and carcinogenic nature of the talc it was selling. And that as a result they were injured from the unreasonably unsafe product.  
  • Negligence – The women argued that the defendants had a duty to exercise reasonable care to consumers in the design, development, manufacture, testing, inspection, packaging, promotion, marketing, distribution, labeling and or sale of talc powder.  In failing to warn Plaintiffs of the hazards associated with the use of the products, and in failing to properly test their product to determine adequacy and effectiveness or safety measures, if any, prior to releasing the products for consumer use. In failing to properly test their products to determine the increased risk of ovarian cancer during the normal and or intended use of the products, and as a direct and proximate result of Johnson and Johnson defendant’s negligence the plaintiffs purchased and used the products which caused the plaintiffs to develop ovarian cancer.
  • Breach of Express Warranty– The women argued that J&J expressly warranted through direct-to-direct consumer marketing, advertisements, and labels that the products were safe and effective for reasonably anticipated uses, including use by women in the perineal area, and the products did not conform to these express representations.
  • Breach of Implied Warranties – Plaintiffs claimed that J&J impliedly warranted that their products were safe for women to use, despite the evidence to the contrary.
  • Civil Conspiracy – Plaintiffs alleged that the defendants knowingly agreed, contrived, combined, confederated, and conspired among themselves to cause plaintiff’s injuries, disease, and or illness by exposing the Plaintiffs to harmful and dangerous products, and denied them the opportunity of informed free choice.
  • Concert of Action – Plaintiffs alleged that at all times the defendants knew that the products should contain a warning on the risk of ovarian cancer posed by their product.
  • Punitive Damages – Plaintiffs requested punitive damages on the basis that the defendants acted willfully, wantonly, and with an evil motive and recklessly.
  • Negligent Misrepresentation – Plaintiffs alleged that Defendants had a duty to accurately and truthfully represent to the medical and healthcare community that the products had been tested and found to be safe and effective.

Victim Awarded Compensatory and Punitive Damages

A jury awarded the family of Jacqueline Fox $10 million dollars in compensatory damages and $62 million dollars in punitive damages. These types of damages are meant to serve two different purposes.

Compensatory damages are awarded to make the victim whole (in this case, place the women in the position they would have been if they had not developed ovarian cancer.) These damages often include compensation for losses such as:

  • Past, present and future medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of earnings and earnings capacity
  • Pecuniary losses
  • Wrongful death and
  • Loss of consortium

In contrast, the jury’s award of $62 million dollars for punitive damages was meant to both punish J&J for its conduct and deter this type of conduct in the future.

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Speak with a Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer at the Wieand Law Firm

If you have developed ovarian cancer after using Johnson & Johnson talcum powder contact a Philadelphia personal injury attorney at the Wieand Law Firm. You may be entitled to compensation for damages including:

  • Wrongful death
  • Medical expenses
  • Incidental expenses
  • Loss of earnings and earnings capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disfigurement
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium
  • Punitive damages

For a free consultation call us today at 1(800) 481-5206 or fill out a description of your claim in the online form.