Posted September 13, 2016 | Product Liability
Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson is currently fighting more than 1,200 lawsuits brought by women who developed ovarian cancer after using Johnson & Johnson brand talcum powder. The lawsuits began with Deane Berg, who in 2007 became the first plaintiff to sue Johnson & Johnson in connection with ovarian cancer. Talcum powder lawsuit attorney Brent Wieand has updates on this rapidly expanding case.
The Wieand Law blog has covered Johnson & Johnson baby powder lawsuits on several occasions, including a $72 million talcum powder verdict awarded in Missouri and a look into the history of medical studies on the risks of talcum powder, which revealed the product to be a carcinogen as early as 1982. Even after Johnson & Johnson removed asbestos, a well-known carcinogen associated with mesothelioma, from its talcum powder formula during the 1970s, researchers found that genital application of the product could still continue to cause ovarian cancer.
Deane Berg, the first victim to come forward, was diagnosed with advanced stage ovarian cancer in 2006. But Berg, like many of those who received the same devastating diagnosis, did not have the risk factors typically associated with ovarian cancer. She was not infertile, nor did had she ever been diagnosed with endometriosis, a condition in which uterine tissue called the endometrium develops outside of the uterus.
The cause of Berg’s cancer was eventually connected not to her genes or her medical history, but to Johnson & Johnson talcum powder, a common household product which, at the time of her diagnosis, Berg had been applying daily for the past 30 years.
Long-term use spanning multiple decades is a common thread among many of the plaintiffs who have sued Johnson & Johnson, such as Cheryl Alvarado, who, according to a complaint filed June 2014, used talcum powder from 1970 to 2014; LuAnn Baker, who used it from 1968 to 2012; Kristina Bennett, who used it from 1985 to 2013; Belinda J. Campbell, who used it from 1956 to 2014; and Cheryl Caragan, who used it from 1960 to 2012. However, while long-term use amplifies the risk, ovarian cancer was also diagnosed in women who used the product for just a few years, including plaintiffs Surflorunia Campbell, who applied talcum powder from 2008 to 2013, and Molly Hawkins, who only used the product from 2008 to 2011.
The aforementioned plaintiffs — excluding Berg, who was awarded no damages by a South Dakota court in 2013 despite a finding of negligence — were joined in the same lawsuit (Hogans et al v. Johnson & Johnson et al, Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis, Missouri, No. 1422-CC09012), which resulted in Johnson & Johnson being ordered to pay $72 million to the family of Jacqueline Fox, a former Birmingham resident who became a victim of wrongful death.
Since Hogans, many other lawsuits have been brought against Johnson & Johnson in connection to ovarian cancer. With over 1,200 lawsuits currently pending, procedures are underway to consolidate the cases together. Plaintiffs’ attorneys filed a Motion for Transfer mid-July seeking as a new court venue the Southern District of Illinois.
The ongoing talcum powder lawsuits have received most of the company’s recent media coverage, but they aren’t the only cases Johnson & Johnson is currently fighting.
With over 1,200 ovarian cancer lawsuits already underway, the pharmaceutical manufacturer was separately sued on August 15 by Andy Beshear, Attorney General of Kentucky, who asserts that over 15,000 women have been implanted with defective transvaginal mesh products which, according to the complaint, are associated with “chronic pelvic pain, urinary and/or defecatory dysfunction, pain with sexual intercourse and/or loss of sexual function,” all of which are described as “potentially irreversible” conditions. The complaint alleges that “J&J concealed and misrepresented to doctors and patients many of risks.”
Similar lawsuits have arisen in the past, some recently. In January 2016, our blog covered a transvaginal mesh lawsuit involving marketing company Ethicon, which has also been named as a defendant in Beshear’s lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson.
If you suffered injuries or developed ovarian tumors after using talcum powder or receiving medical implants, call Philadelphia transvaginal mesh lawyer Brent Wieand at (877) 654-3887 to discuss your personal injury claim in a free, completely confidential legal consultation. As a product liability attorney proudly serving Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Brent has extensive experience handling claims involving defective surgical implants. Trust Brent to fight aggressively for the injury compensation you and your family deserve.
*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.*