Los Angeles Jury Awards $417 Million to Talc Victim

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The victim alleged that Johnson & Johnson knew the risks of using talcum powder and failed to warn consumers.

A jury in Los Angeles awarded a $417-million verdict to a woman who used Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products and was diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer. According to a news report, the plaintiff alleged in her lawsuit that J&J failed to warn consumers about the risks of using the talcum powder products for feminine hygiene in spite of knowing that it could cause ovarian cancer.
This verdict marks the largest award yet in a number of lawsuits, which are claiming that the company’s talcum powder causes ovarian cancer. Currently, more than 300 lawsuits are pending just in California and more than 4,500 talcum powder lawsuits remain in the rest of the country.

What Did The Plaintiff Allege In Her Lawsuit?

In her testimony, the plaintiff said she used the talcum powder from age 11, until 2016, when she saw a news story about a woman with ovarian cancer who had also used the product. J&J aggressively marketed its talcum powder products specifically for genital use in women with the jingle: “A sprinkle a day helps keep the odor away.”

Jurors in Los Angeles awarded this plaintiff $70 million in compensatory damages and $347 million in punitive damages after two days of deliberations. They also found that there was a connection between the baby powder and the plaintiff’s ovarian cancer. J&J immediately announced that it would appeal to overturn the verdict. The company has consistently maintained that these lawsuits are not grounded in scientific facts and that their scientific studies and other federal studies show talc is not carcinogenic.

What Is The Link Between Talc and Cancer?

According to the National Cancer Institute, ovarian cancer accounts for 1.3 percent of all new cancer cases in the United States. A study conducted as early as 1982 shows that women who used talc on their genitals were at a 92 percent increased risk for ovarian cancer. The lead researcher on that study had advised J&J to put a warning label on the product, but the company has still not done so.

In January of this year, researchers at The Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York reported that talcum powder increased the risk of ovarian cancer for women who used talc by 20 percent compared to women who did not use it. Talcum powder’s main ingredient is highly purified talc, a mineral composed of the elements magnesium, silicon, oxygen and hydrogen.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Paul d’Oliveira
Attorney Paul d’Oliveira has been practicing personal injury and disability law for over 29 years. He started his personal injury law practice in 1989 with two offices in Fall River, MA and East Providence, RI. Today his firm has 15 offices in RI and Southeastern, MA.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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