2018 Talcum Powder Lawsuit News: In July 2018, a jury in Missouri ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $4.69 billion to 22 women who said its talcum powder products caused their ovarian cancer. The company is currently battling more than 11,700 other lawsuits in state and federal courts over the question of whether their talc-based products like Johnson’s Baby Powder cause ovarian cancer. If you regularly used talcum powder products and have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, talk to a lawyer today to see if you are eligible to receive compensation.
Thousands of women have filed talcum powder lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson and other companies, claiming that baby powder and other talc-based products have caused their ovarian cancer. While medical researchers are still studying the link between talc and cancer, several juries have held J&J responsible and ordered the company to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation.
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Why Are People Filing Talcum Powder Lawsuits?
Talc products have been in the news recently because of big-money verdicts against Johnson & Johnson. At the heart of these cases are women who developed ovarian cancer after using talc-based products, like Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower Body, regularly for many years.
The scientific evidence to suggest a link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer is disputed, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) generally considers cosmetic-grade talc safe. According to internal records, though, J&J knew about the potential connection between genital talcum powder use and cancer more than 40 years ago. Instead of informing consumers about the possible relationship, however, the company refused to add a warning to talc product packaging or change its formula to use safer ingredients, such as cornstarch.
Now, thousands of women are suing the corporation, claiming the company had a duty to inform them about an increased risk of cancer when using talc powder on or near their genital area.
What Talc Products Are Involved?
Johnson’s Baby Powder has been a staple in diaper bags and medicine cabinets for over a century to treat diaper rash and vaginal odors. Because of its long use, brand recognition and marketing specifically for “feminine hygiene” uses, J&J’s flagship talc product is at the heart of many talcum powder lawsuits.
Shower-to-Shower Body Powder is a somewhat more recent product developed by Johnson & Johnson, although it has been around for nearly 50 years. The company continued marketing the shower-to-shower products to women for daily use under the slogan, “A sprinkle a day keeps odor away,” despite knowing about the research on cancer and talc.
Note that talcum powder products marketed by other companies have also been at issue in some lawsuits. Examples include Colgate-Palmolive’s Cashmere Boutique (which is no longer manufactured) and talc products made by Whittaker, Clark & Daniels.
Evidence for a Link Between Talc and Cancer
There is a significant association between the use of talc in genital hygiene and risk of epithelial ovarian cancer that…warrants more formal public health warnings.International Journal of Cancer
Over the last five decades, nearly 40 peer-reviewed papers have been published in medical journals studying a potential link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. The first of these, published in 1971 in The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of the British Commonwealth, was a small study revealing that talc particles had been found in 75% of the ovarian and cervical tumors removed from 13 different women. According to court documents, in September 1971, Johnson & Johnson began a campaign to undermine this initial study.
Since then, many scientists have tried to identify the precise role of talc in the development of ovarian cancer. The two most recent large-scale meta-analyses both indicate a statistical link between talc and ovarian cancer:
- A 2017 study published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention discovered a “weak but statistically significant association between genital use of talc and ovarian cancer” – although it also noted that there were problems with differences between the studies analyzed that could have affected results.
- A 2018 study published in Epidemiology reported “a consistent association between perineal talc use and ovarian cancer,” with some variation based on type of study and ovarian cancer subtype.
Legally speaking, companies can be held liable for marketing defects, such as a failure to warn consumers about potential injuries when using their products. This means that despite a dispute over the relationship between talc and ovarian cancer, the fact that Johnson & Johnson knew about a possible link is enough to hold the company liable for failing to warn consumers about a potential cancer risk when using their products.
Talcum Powder Settlements and Verdicts
To date, there have been several verdicts that have favored plaintiffs. There have not yet been any talcum powder settlements, however, as Johnson & Johnson and other defendants have largely been unwilling to settle the cases. The company continues to claim that its talc products are harmless, and rather than trying to resolve outstanding cases with a settlement, they are aggressively defending that position.
The current situation was not always the case, though. In the very first talcum powder lawsuit, filed in 2009, J&J offered plaintiff Deane Berg $1.3 million to settle out of court. However, upon learning that the settlement came with a confidentiality clause, the ovarian cancer survivor decided to reject the settlement and make sure others knew about the dangers posed by perineal use of talc instead. Unfortunately, although the jury ultimately ruled in favor of Berg, she was not awarded any damages.
Talcum Powder Verdicts
Since 2013, there have been 9 high-profile trials deciding if talc causes ovarian cancer. So far, 6 verdicts have come from Missouri courts, while the largest arose from a Los Angeles jury court in August 2017. Six of these verdicts have gone in favor of the plaintiffs, with five resulting in awards totaling over $724 million. Thousands of suits are still awaiting trials. Here are a few notable cases.
22 Women in Missouri ($4.69 billion, July 2018): Amounting to approximately $213.2 million per person, a Missouri jury decided that Johnson & Johnson was liable for causing the ovarian cancer of 22 women as a result of asbestos contamination in its talc products. J&J is appealing the verdict, given that 17 of the women in the case lived outside of Missouri, relying on a 2017 Supreme Court ruling in a Plavix lawsuit that limits the jurisdiction of state courts to oversee cases brought by out-of-state plaintiffs.
Eva Echeverria ($417 million, August 2017): The largest individual talc verdict to date, the Los Angeles jury awarded her more than double the amount requested in the complaint. However, the verdict was later overturned by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge and is currently under appeal.
Lois Slemp ($110.4 million, May 2017): The largest verdict out of Missouri was awarded to Slemp just two months after Johnson & Johnson won its first trial, marking the fifth unfavorable verdict against the company. Slemp’s verdict was later upheld on appeal to the 22nd District Court.
Deborah Giannecchini ($70 million, October 2016): After using Johnson’s baby powder for feminine hygiene for more than four decades, Giannecchini was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She was awarded $70 million dollars after a court in St. Louis jury found Johnson & Johnson guilty of negligence.
Jackie Fox ($72 million, February 2016): Fox was diagnosed with terminal cancer and passed away in 2015 after using Johnson’s baby powder for years. Her family was awarded $72 million dollars when her attorneys proved that Johnson & Johnson knew about studies linking its products to ovarian cancer and failed to warn customers about possible dangers.
Gloria Ristesund ($55 million, May 2016): A jury in Missouri found Johnson & Johnson guilty after Ristesund, who used the company’s products for decades, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
Talcum Powder Lawsuit FAQ’s
Am I Eligible to File a Talcum Powder Lawsuit?
If you believe that your ovarian cancer diagnosis might have been caused by using talcum powder products, we can connect you with a lawyer to answer your questions for free. Laws vary by state, so it’s important to talk with someone right away to make sure you do not miss the filing deadline.
What Compensation Can I Receive for a Talcum Powder Lawsuit?
Every state has different deadlines and statutes of limitations, and you could miss out if you wait too long to file a claim, so it’s important to contact a lawyer soon after your diagnosis. The best way to determine whether you may be able to receive compensation in punitive damages or compensatory damages for your diagnosis is by talking to a reputable talcum powder lawyer. You may be able to receive compensation for pain and suffering, as well as medical bills, funeral expenses, and other costs. Working with a lawyer who knows the ins and outs of talcum powder litigation will give you the best chance of getting a favorable verdict or settlement.
How Can I Pay for a Talcum Powder Lawyer?
Most lawyers who specialize in talcum powder cases will determine your eligibility with a free case review. They can inform you of your legal rights and options, only receiving compensation if your case reaches a verdict or settlement. This means that you won’t have to pay any fees to your lawyer up front.
Contact a lawyer today for a free case evaluation