Posted November 8, 2016 | Product Liability
A $70 million verdict awarded on October 27 to a California plaintiff by a St. Louis court marks the latest legal victory for victims who were diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using talcum powder manufactured by Johnson & Johnson. If you, your mother, your daughter, or your spouse developed ovarian cancer from J&J baby powder, you should speak to a talcum powder lawsuit lawyer immediately. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills and other losses.
Multiple plaintiffs have filed personal injury lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson during the past year. Plaintiffs allege that use of J&J baby powder caused them to develop ovarian cancer.
A medical study from 1982, which I discussed in a previous article, exposed potential links between ovarian cancer and talcum powder more than four decades ago. And in a press release issued nearly 20 years later, the American Cancer Society formally recommended “that women who wish to use powder use a cornstarch-based powder and avoid talc powders at this time,” noting that “there were some associations found between the use of talc-containing genital powders and ovarian cancer.”
The potentially carcinogenic properties of talcum powder have been known for many years within the scientific community, but this information has been largely obscured from public view by statements and advertisements which imply talcum powder is safe for everyday use. Even now, as the number of victorious plaintiffs mounts, J&J maintains the position that its talcum powder products pose no danger to consumers.
“We will appeal today’s verdict,” said J&J spokesperson Carol Goodrich after Thursday’s ruling, “because we are guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder.”
The verdict concluded a month-long trial that began on September 26 after plaintiff Deborah Giannecchini, a resident of Modesto, California, alleged that J&J engaged in “wrongful and negligent conduct in the research, development, testing, manufacture, production, promotion, distribution, marketing, and sale of talcum powder.” According to the complaint, Giannecchini started using talcum powder in 1967, continuing use through 2012, when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
The complaint noted that Giannecchini would “incur medical expenses in the future, has endured and will endure pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life” as a direct and proximate (indirect) result of her talcum powder use. Medical expenses are a common example of economic damages, which compensate plaintiffs’ financial losses, in personal injury cases. “Loss of enjoyment of life” and “pain and suffering” are common examples of non-economic damages in personal injury lawsuits. Other losses for which injury victims may be compensated include lost earnings, loss of consortium (loss of marital relationship), and diminished earning capacity.
Lawsuits against J&J have had mixed outcomes. Several cases have been dismissed, such as a New Jersey case in which Atlantic City Judge Nelson Johnson cited insufficient evidence to prove a connection between talcum powder use and ovarian cancer. Goodrich defended the court’s decision to throw the New Jersey case out, calling the ruling an “appropriate reflect the science and facts at issue in this litigation.”
Other cases, like Giannecchini’s, have resulted in multi-million dollar jury awards. In May, a jury awarded South Dakota plaintiff Gloria Ristesund $55 million, mostly in punitive damages, which are sometimes awarded in addition to compensatory damages in order to punish the defendant and deter repeat instances of the same misconduct. In February, several months before the Ristesund ruling, a St. Louis court awarded $72 million to the surviving family members of a wrongful death victim who died from ovarian cancer.
These cases reflect just a few of the approximately 2,000 lawsuits that have already been filed against J&J. It is likely that additional cases will continue to emerge as litigation against J&J continues over the next several years.
According to the CDC, about 20,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year. It is the ninth most common form of cancer among U.S. women, and causes more fatalities than uterine cancer, cervical cancer, or any cancer of the female reproductive system.
Manufacturers should be held responsible if they fail to warn about known side effects of a defective product which cause serious injury or death. If you or one of your family members was diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using Johnson & Johnson baby powder, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and other damages.
Philadelphia product liability attorney Brent Wieand has represented numerous plaintiffs who were injured, killed, or developed an illness after using dangerous products. He is not afraid to aggressively challenge powerful corporations in pursuit of justice for injury victims in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. If you believe that you or a loved one developed cancer from talcum powder, call the Wieand Law Firm, LLC at (888) 789-3161 for a free and confidential legal consultation.
*Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes and is not legal advice. The Wieand Law Firm, LLC is based in Philadelphia, PA, and proud to serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.*