Johnson & Johnson Hit with Talcum Powder Lawsuit in Connecticut


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A wrongful death lawsuit was brought against Johnson & Johnson by the family of a woman who died of cancer.

The family of a woman has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson claiming that her use of the company’s talcum powder led to her ovarian cancer and ultimate death. According to a news report, this talcum powder lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Connecticut and alleges that the woman, who used J&J’s talcum powder for more than 50 years received an ovarian cancer
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diagnosis in 2011 and died from the disease two years ago.

Legal Battles Involving J&J

While J&J has been victorious recently on this matter, with two multimillion-dollar verdicts overturned by appellate courts, plaintiffs have been able to win over juries by showing a definite link between their genital talcum powder use and ovarian cancer.

In October, a California judge tossed out a $417 million talc verdict citing “serious misconduct” on the part of the jury and lack of sufficient evidence at the trial. Also, a Missouri appeals court reversed a $72 million talcum powder verdict pointing to a U.S. Supreme Court decision that could threaten to erase more verdicts against the company in Missouri.

Link Between Talc and Cancer

However, hundreds of women have filed similar lawsuits against J&J alleging a link between talc and cancer. While J&J has been putting down this link as “junk science,” lawsuits have pointed to studies since the 1970s, which have shown connections between genital talc use and cancer. Some recent studies have also shown a heightened risk of ovarian cancer among women who have used talcum powder for feminine hygiene.

However, J&J has never warned consumers, especially female consumers who use talcum powder for feminine hygiene purposes. In fact, J&J has targeted female users in its advertising campaigns encouraging them to use these products for feminine hygiene purposes. The lawsuit that was most recently filed in Connecticut cites among other things, violation of the Product Liability Act, wrongful death and loss of consortium.

Talcum powder is made from talc, which is a soft mineral consisting of elements such as magnesium, silicon and oxygen. It is used in a number of cosmetic products from facial to baby powders because it absorbs moisture well and helps cut down on friction, making it useful for keeping skin dry and helping prevent rashes. However, in its natural form, talc contains asbestos, which is a known carcinogen. There have been repeated concerns about the increased risk of ovarian cancer in women who regularly use them in the genital area.

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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