$55 Million Talc Powder Verdict
Written by Faith Anderson on May 3, 2016
J&J Ordered to Pay $55 Million in Talcum Powder Cancer Lawsuit
In the second major talcum powder trial loss for Johnson & Johnson this year, the pharmaceutical company was ordered by a St. Louis jury earlier this week to pay $55 million to a 62-year-old South Dakota woman who blamed J&J’s talcum powder for her ovarian cancer. If you used Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder or Shower-to-Shower body powder for feminine hygiene purposes in the past, and you have since been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, consult an experienced talcum powder cancer lawyer today to explore your possible compensation options.
Plaintiff Requires Hysterectomy to Combat Cancer
The plaintiff in this latest talcum powder lawsuit, Gloria Ristesund, was diagnosed with cancer in 2011, after using Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based body powder for feminine hygiene purposes for nearly 40 years, and the jury awarded her $5 million in compensatory damages and $50 million in punitive damages designed to punish Johnson & Johnson for its actions. Ristesund underwent a hysterectomy and related surgeries, and, according to her lawyers, talc particles were found in her ovarian tissue. Her cancer is now in remission.
“Science has been simple and consistent over the last 40 years: There’s an increased risk of ovarian cancer from genital use of talc,” a lawyer representing Ristesund told jurors last week, yet many women continue to use talc-based baby powder and body powders for feminine hygiene, unaware of the risks. Johnson & Johnson, however, continues to deny any link between talc and ovarian cancer, and a spokesperson for J&J said in an emailed statement that the pharmaceutical company plans to appeal the $55 million verdict.
Possible Talc Powder Ovarian Cancer Settlements
Talcum powder cancer litigation is still in its early stages, and some think the recent verdicts against Johnson & Johnson may motivate the pharmaceutical company to reach a settlement agreement with plaintiffs in the remaining cases. “The more talc verdicts that come down against them adds to the public’s growing distrust of their baby powder, which is one of their iconic products,” says Carl Tobias, a professor of product-liability law at the University of Richmond in Virginia. “There are both economic and reputational issues that may motivate them to start thinking about a global settlement of these cases.”
J&J May Have Been Aware of Ovarian Cancer Risk
According to one of the jurors in Ristesund’s trial, it was difficult for the jury to decide whether talc was a contributing factor in ovarian cancer. “After we agreed on that, everything was easy,” she said. “We felt like they knew for decades that they should have put a warning on this product.” Truth be told, J&J documents reportedly showed that the company was aware of health concerns involving talcum powder since the mid-1970s, yet failed to adequately warn the public or medical professionals about the potential for talc-based baby powders and body powders to cause ovarian cancer in women.
Research conducted in recent years has suggested that talcum powder may increase a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer if the talc powder particles (applied to the genital area or on sanitary napkins, condoms or diaphragms) are able to travel through the vagina, uterus and fallopian tubes to the ovaries. One of the first studies to examine the potential connection between talc-based feminine hygiene products and ovarian cancer was published in 1971, and researchers reported that particles of talc were deeply embedded in the majority of ovarian tumors analyzed in the study.
Talc Powder Lawsuits Filed Over Ovarian Cancer Side Effects
Plaintiffs involved in the talcum powder litigation, which is concentrated in New Jersey and Missouri state courts, allege that Johnson & Johnson failed to warn about the potential link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. According to product liability lawsuits brought against the pharmaceutical company, women who for years applied talc-based baby powder or body powder to their genitals to stay fresh and dry, would never have used the products in the first place, had they known about the potential for talcum powder to cause ovarian cancer side effects.
The recent verdicts against Johnson & Johnson have resulted in an influx of claims brought by women who believe they have been harmed by side effects of talcum powder, and the company now faces more than 1,000 product liability lawsuits filed in state and federal courts across the country over alleged side effects of its talc-based Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower body powder products. Back in February 2016, J&J lost a $72 million verdict in another St. Louis trial, brought by the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer after using talcum powder for feminine hygiene for decades.
Contact a Knowledgeable Ovarian Cancer Lawyer Today
Following the February talcum powder verdict against Johnson & Johnson, thousands of women and families contacted plaintiff law firms to discuss the possibility of filing a talcum powder cancer lawsuit against the pharmaceutical company, and attorneys across the country are now reviewing upwards of 5,000 potential claims. If you believe you have been adversely affected by ovarian cancer side effects of talcum powder, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries and medical expenses. Contact a knowledgeable talcum powder attorney today to discuss your options for legal recourse.