Talcum Powder Lawsuit
Thousands of women have filed lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson, claiming that the brand’s Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower products caused their ovarian cancer diagnosis. For decades, J&J marketed these products to women under the slogan, “A sprinkle a day, keeps odor away.” Johnson & Johnson continued to tell women their products were safe for daily use, even though study after study suggested they were not. Evidence has now surfaced that J&J knew about these studies, and yet decided not to place any warnings on these products.
Why Women Are Filing Claims
Thanks to the consumer bill of rights, Americans are guaranteed the right to safe products. While most brands do their best to ensure the safety of their customers, products can still end up posing a health risk, resulting in a recall. Usually this process is voluntary, but occasionally brands deny that their products cause harm, and in these cases it may necessary to file suit. The most common reasons to contact a lawyer include:
- Compensation for pain and suffering caused by the development of cancer
- Payment of medical costs for diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up care
- Lost income due to the inability to work
- Funeral expenses for a loved one who has died due to ovarian cancer caused by talc
How does talc cause ovarian cancer?
More research is needed to understand exactly how talc may cause ovarian cancer. Studies have shown that tumors can form whether talc is applied directly to the genitals, or dusted onto underwear or sanitary napkins. It is believed that particles travel from the pelvic region to the ovaries causing inflammation, which eventually leads to the formation of cancerous tumors. Studies range from showing a slight increase in cancer risk, to as much as a 63%.
What products are involved?
Shower-to-Shower powder has been used by women for nearly half a century because it absorbs moisture and covers up vaginal odors. Johnson & Johnson continued marketing the product to women for daily use under the slogan, “A sprinkle a day keeps odor away,” despite knowing about the research connecting talc with ovarian cancer.
Johnson’s Baby Powder has been a staple in diaper bags and medicine cabinets for generations to treat diaper rash and vaginal odors. Johnson & Johnson continues to claim that talc is safe, but parents should seek out safer alternatives like corn starch baby powders because of the cancer connection as well as infant lung problems.
Johnson & Johnson liability
Medical studies have repeatedly shown a link between talc and ovarian tumors as far back as 1971. Because Johnson & Johnson knew about the research connecting their products with a higher risk of cancer, and chose not to warn their customers, they may be held liable for putting women at risk. While Johnson & Johnson has been the primary defendant, any manufacturer or supplier of talc, such as Imerys Talc America, may be held liable in some cases. Imerys has been cleared of liability in three Missouri verdicts.
Since laws can vary depending upon where you live, and how long you used these products, it’s important to speak with someone who is familiar with these types of trials to see how strong your claim is. If you believe that your ovarian cancer diagnosis was caused by talcum powder, contact us, and we’ll put you in touch with one of our legal partners for a free and confidential case review.
How much does a lawsuit cost?
The attorneys we’ve partnered with work on a contingency basis. This means there are no legal fees unless you receive compensation in the form of a settlement or award (verdict). You will not need to give your attorney any money up front. Once you do receive an award, your lawyer will receive a percentage of the award as a fee for services and to pay costs associated with the trial. You can learn more about starting a talc lawsuit in our free Talc and Cancer Guide.
How can I contact a lawyer?
If you believe that your ovarian cancer diagnosis might have been caused by using talcum powder products, click the link below to fill out a short contact form, and one of our legal partners will call you within 24 hours to talk about your case. By waiting to file a claim, you could be putting your legal right to compensation at risk.
Contact us for a free legal consultation.
Johnson & Johnson Talc Verdicts
Since 2013, there have been 6 high-profile trials deciding if talc causes ovarian cancer. So far, all verdicts have come from Missouri courts, where plaintiffs with no connection to the state are allowed to file suits, although California is now hearing their first bellwether case. Five of the six verdicts have gone in favor of the plaintiffs, causing even more women to come forward with claims.
Timeline of verdicts
Deane Berg – No damages awarded – November 22, 2013 – Berg brought the first talc case against Johnson & Johnson after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. A federal jury sided with Berg, but no damages were awarded, because there wasn’t enough evidence connecting her diagnosis with talc. The jury did state that women should have been warned about the potential risks.
Jackie Fox – $72 million – February 22, 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 2, 2016 – A jury in Missouri found Johnson & Johnson guilty after Ristesund, who used the company’s products for decades, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
Deborah Giannecchini – $70 million – October 27, 2016 – After using Johnson & 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 found Johnson and Johnson guilty of negligence.
Nora Daniels – Johnson & Johnson victory – March 3, 2017 – Johnson & Johnson won the suit brought by Daniels by arguing that the FDA and other government organizations do not require a warning on talcum powder.
Lois Slemp – $110 million – May 4, 2017 – The latest, and largest verdict of $110 million was awarded to Slemp just two months after the previous jury sided with Johnson & Johnson, marking the fifth guilty verdict against the company.
Talc lawsuit Coverage on CBS Evening News
California bellwether trial
Another talcum powder lawsuit goes forward in California on July 10, 2017. Eva Echeverria’s case is the first bellwether trial in the Golden State, and also the first outside of St. Louis, Missouri. The outcome is highly anticipated after a recent court ruling stymied efforts to funnel out-of-state cases into the St. Louis court system. While there are only about 300 other claims currently in Los Angeles—a fraction of the thousands in Missouri—this number could balloon after a high profile ruling in favor of the plaintiff.
If you’d like to know more about the how talc causes cancer, or the process of filing a suit, get our Free Talc & Ovarian Cancer Guide.
Class Actions and Multidistrict Litigation
Class action lawsuits have been filed in both California and Illinois, covering thousands of defendants claiming that their ovarian cancer diagnosis resulted from their use of Johnson’s Baby Powder or Shower to Shower powder.
Mona Estrada Talc Class Action (California)
In April 2014, Mona Estrada filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, claiming that she had been using Johnson’s Baby Powder since 1950. Mona, along with many other woman, had expected the product to be safe based on Johnson & Johnson’s marketing claims. She also claimed that a lack of a warning about the possibility of developing cancer on the label made the company liable for her ovarian cancer, to which talc has been linked. Mona’s case against Johnson & Johnson has dragged on for several years, with the company filing multiple motions to dismiss it. In October 2016, the case was transferred to a federal court in New Jersey to be part of the multidistrict litigation (MDL No. 2738) currently going through that court.
Barbara Mihalich Class Action (Illinois)
Shortly after the Estrada talc verdict, another woman named Barbara Mihalich filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. Her case was initially dismissed for failure to state a claim; however, Barbara filed an amended complaint alleging that she and other women faced a greater risk of developing ovarian cancer due to the use of Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products. The lawsuit cited studies as far back as the 1960s and claimed that the company knew about the potential health risks of their products, but never warned women about these dangers.
In October 2016, Barbara Mihalich’s case was transferred to MDL No. 2738 to be administered by the District of New Jersey federal court, along with those who had signed onto the class action.
Multidistrict Litigation (MDL)
Most, if not all, baby powder cancer lawsuits are currently being handled as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL). MDL cases are different from class action suits in that the plaintiffs file individual claims, but they are all handled through the same district court to make the process more efficient. MDLs are often set up when there are many similar cases that may have subtle differences. Talcum powder suits against Johnson & Johnson are being handled as part of MDL No. 2738 in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.