Individuals diagnosed with ovarian cancer and mesothelioma who used Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products are filing talcum powder lawsuits alleging that Johnson & Johnson knew about the risks of using talcum powder, but failed to warn the public of this risk. Furthermore, talcum powder lawsuits currently being filed against Johnson & Johnson allege that they marketed Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower to women and children for hygienic use despite the known risk that it could cause ovarian cancer.
Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Lawsuit
Over 9,000 talcum powder lawsuits are currently pending against J&J in courts across the United States on behalf of individuals who used Johnsons Baby Powder or Johnson’s Shower-to-Shower as infants or part of their daily feminine hygiene routine and believe it may be the cause of their ovarian cancer or mesothelioma.
Talcum Litigation is underway in various state courts, including St. Louis, New Jersey’s Bergen County Superior Court and Los Angeles, CA Superior Court.
If your situation sounds similar you may be entitled to significant compensation.
Each of the Talcum Powder lawsuits allege the following:
- Johnson & Johnson knew about the possible negative health effects of the company’s baby powder but never told consumers;
- They chose to market the talcum powder products to women and children for hygienic use despite the risks.
- J&J put their desire for profits before consumer safety by withholding information about the potential ovarian cancer risk associated with talc.
- J&J hid the fact that talcum powder contains asbestos
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- Did you or a loved on use Talcum products in a hygiene routine?
- Did you or your loved one later develop ovarian cancer or mesothelioma?
What is Talc?
Talc is the common ingredient in the soft, sweet-smelling powder products used on babies’ bottoms and by women in an effort to keep their skin dry and avoid rashes. Magnesium, silicon, oxygen and hydrogen come together to create Talc.
Johnson & Johnson’s Talcum Powder
Johnson & Johnson first developed baby powder in 1893, promoting it as a means of treating diaper rash in babies.
By 1913, J&J had begun to market the powder to women with slogans like, “Best for baby, best for you,” and by 1965, J&J was producing print advertisements with coupons that included the phrase, “Want to feel cool, smooth, and dry? It’s as easy as taking powder from a baby” and marketing pitches that promoted “A Sprinkle A Day.”
Over the next century, Johnson’s Baby Powder grew into a top selling product and is now commonly found in every home. It continues to be promoted as a means of absorbing unwanted moisture and odors in babies and women. The company still maintains that talc is a safe, essential part of makeup and skin care routines in many parts of the world.
Interestingly, the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t recommend using baby powder on babies – not because of the risk of cancer, but because babies are prone to inhaling the fine particles in the powder and damaging their lungs.
Ovarian cancer is the fifth most deadly cancer among women, causing more deaths than any other cancer affecting the female reproductive system, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 22,200 American women will likely be diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year, according to the American Cancer Society.
Older women (over 40 years of age) are more likely to be stricken with ovarian cancer than younger women, with the greatest number of cases occurring in women over age 63.
As early as the 1970’s scientists began looking at the connection between the dusting of female genitals with talcum powder and ovarian cancer. Based on the marketing of these products to babies and as a feminine ritual, most people assume that such a common household item is safe to use.
Sadly, studies continue to confirm this connection – that talc particles applied to the genitals enter a woman’s reproductive tract through the vagina and continue to travel within the female body increasing the risk of ovarian cancer. However, up until this point, these studies have been kept out of the public eye, confined to medical journals and blog posts.
Since the FDA has very limited regulatory power over talcum powder (it is classified as a cosmetic product), it appears that the only way to get consumers the real truth behind this link is through lawsuits.
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the mesothelial cells, the protective layer of tissue around the lungs, heart, and stomach that cushions the organs, prevents friction, and allows for free movement of the body. Asbestos exposure is responsible for nearly all cases of mesothelioma, which leads to an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 deaths each year in the U.S. On the average, the prognosis for a patient is less than one year from the time of a mesothelioma diagnosis.
Exposure to asbestos dust is considered to be the main cause of mesothelioma, and it is believed that those currently suffering from malignant mesothelioma were exposed to asbestos at least 20 years ago.
Recent talcum powder cases allege that J&J sold their product for decades knowing it contained cancer-causing asbestos fibers.
Talc Use and Ovarian Cancer in African American Women
Although studies show that Caucasian women are at a higher risk than any other race to develop ovarian cancer, documents brought out during Talcum trials show that Johnson & Johnson intentionally targeted African American and Hispanic women in their advertising of “A Sprinkle A Day.”
A 2008 case-control study in Los Angeles found that 44% of African-American women reported using talcum powder, compared to only 30% and 29% of white and Hispanic women respectively.
And in fact, many African American and Hispanic women note that using talc for feminine hygiene was second nature and it had been a routine they followed as long as they can remember. According to Jacqueline Salter Fox, many women in the African American community were taught to use Shower talc as part of their daily feminine hygiene routine. The family of Jacqueline Fox was awarded $10 million in damages and $62 million in punitive damages and the jury charged J&J with fraud, negligence, and conspiracy.
African American woman who contract ovarian cancer as a result of talc use, have a much higher mortality rate – 7.2 black women per 100,000 died of ovarian cancer compared to 4.1 per 100,000 for all other races.
Talcum Powder Lawsuit Verdict Timeline
Johnson & Johnson is currently appealing several of these cases and has seen a few verdicts, despite their current verdict tally of $724 Million.
2013 – a federal jury in Sioux Falls, South Dakota found that Johnson & Johnson’s product that contained talcum did contribute to a woman’s ovarian cancer but, unusually, awarded no monetary damages to the family harmed. Deane Berg was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2006 and used talcum-based products for hygiene purposes for about 30 years, including Shower-to-Shower body powder.
Ingham v. Johnson & Johnson – $4.69 Billion – July 2018
Eight-hours is all it took for a St. Louis jury to hand Johnson & Johnson their largest legal setback yet for their talc-based products – a $4.69 billion verdict for the role J&J played in asbestos-induced ovarian cancer of 22 women. Unlike prior talcum trials, the Ingham v. Johnson & Johnson jury, was the first to hear evidence that Johnson & Johnson covered up evidence that their “sacred cow” product contained asbestos fibers for more than 40 years.
According to Susanne Scovern, a lawyer on the plaintiff’s trial team, “women deserve to know the truth about the products they use on a daily basis”
Jackie Fox – $72 Million – February 2016
(currently overruled by Court of Appeals, pending Missouri Supreme Court hearing)
A Missouri jury ordered J&J to pay $72 million to the family of Jackie Fox, a woman who died of ovarian cancer in October 2015. Of this verdict, $10 million was compensatory damages and the remaining $62 million was punitive damages intended to serve as a punishment to J&J for deliberately failing to warn consumers of the risk of ovarian cancer from the use of talc products.
It took the St. Louis jury only four hours to hold Johnson & Johnson responsible. Speaking after the verdict, the head juror noted “It was really clear [Johnson & Johnson] was hiding something. All they had to do was put a warning label on it.”
In October 2017, the Missouri Eastern District Court of Appeals threw out this verdict on the basis that Missouri lacked jurisdiction in the case. It will next be heard by the Missouri Supreme Court.
Gloria Ristesund – $55 Million – May 1, 2016
(currently overruled by Court of Appeals)
A Missouri jury ordered J&J to pay $55 million to Gloria Ristesund, 62-year-old Sioux Falls, South Dakota woman who survived ovarian cancer. Of this verdict, $5 million was compensatory damages and the remaining $50 million was punitive damages awarded by the jurors because they found that Johnson & Johnson internal documents recognized the risk of ovarian cancer with talc use and failed to warn the public. Missiouri appeals court threw out the $55 million verdict on July 2, 2018 based on the fact that Ms. Ristesund should not have had jurisdiction to file a lawsuit in Missouri.
During closing arguments, Ristesund’s attorney showed jurors internal documents from J&J that noted the risk of ovarian cancer and noted…
THEY CAN SAY WHATEVER THEY WANT TO WITH THEIR FANCY EXPERTS WHEN THEY COME UP HERE THAT TESTIFY IN LITIGATION ALL THE TIME. THIS IS WHAT THEY SAID BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, WHEN THEY’RE IN THE HOUSE AND THEY DON’T THINK ANYBODY’S LISTENING. A WHOLE DIFFERENT SONG AND DANCE.
Deborah Giannecchini – $70 Million – October 2016
A Missouri jury ordered J&J to pay $70 million for the talcum lawsuit found that Johnson & Johnson was negligent in making and marketing its talcum powder to a California woman whose complications from ovarian cancer caused the removal of her spleen, part of her stomach, part of her colon, all of her ovaries and her uterus. Of this verdict, $65 million was found to be punitive damages assigned to J&J because the jury believed they should have warned consumers of the risk.
MAKE THEM STOP – STOP THIS MADNESS. STOP THIS MACHINE. IF Y’ALL DON’T DO IT, NOBODY ELSE WILL DO IT – ATTORNEY FOR DEBORAH GIANNECCHINI, OCTOBER 2016
Lois Slemp – $110 Million – May 4, 2017
A Missouri jury ordered J&J to pay $110 million to a 62-year-old Virginia woman who used Shower-to-Shower for more than 40 years prior to her ovarian cancer diagnosis in 2012. The jury found that J&J’s conduct warranted punitive damages in excess of $105 Million in order to send a message to J&J.
According to Daniel’s attorney, punitive damages were necessary and he noted.
ONCE AGAIN, WE’VE SHOWN THAT THESE COMPANIES IGNORED THE SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE AND CONTINUE TO DENY THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES TO WOMEN OF AMERICA. THEY CHOSE TO PUT PROFITS OVER PEOPLE, SPENDING MILLIONS IN EFFORTS TO MANIPULATE SCIENTIFC AND REGULATORY SCRUTINY. – ATTORNEY FOR LOIS SLEMP, MAY 2017.
Eva Echeverria – $417 million – August 21, 2017
(Overturned on 10/21 by a Los Angeles judge, currently pending a new trial based on errors in the trial).
The first California state jury to evaluate the link between J&J’s talcum powder products and ovarian cancer awarded Echeverria $417 million of which $347 million was punitive damages meant to send a message to J&J.
Unfortunately, Eva Echeverria died just after learning of the verdict but Echeverria’s attorney continued the fight for the other women who would still learn of an ovarian cancer diagnosis, noting
THEY’RE NOT EVER GOING TO WARN, UNLESS Y’ALL DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. WHILE JOHNSON & JOHNSON COMES IN HERE AND PLAYS THESE LEGAL GAMES, THE COLLATERAL DAMAGE IS THOUSANDS OF WOMEN INCLUDING MS. ECHEVERRIA
Steven Lanzo – $117 million – April 4, 2018
(Upheld on June 27, 2018 by the New Jersey State Judge, Johnson & Johnson will now seek to appeal this decision at the Court of Appeals)
New Jersey jury awards Stephen Lanzo $37 million in compensatory damages and $80 million in punitive damages after finding that J&J’s acted with reckless indifference in selling asbestos-containing talcum powder that contributed to a man’s development of mesothelioma.
Stephen Lanzo alleged that he developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure to J&J’s talcum powder products starting as an infant in the 1970’s.
J&J WAS SELLING A PRODUCT FOR DECADES AND DECADES AND DECADES THAT HAD CANCER-CAUSING FIBERS AND ITS TAKEN TIME FOR THEM TO TAKE ACTION AND STOP DOING WHAT THEY’VE DONE FOR YEARS AND YEARS AND YEARS.
Joanne Anderson – $25.7 million – May 17, 2018
Los Angeles jury awards Joanne Anderson $21.7 million in compensatory damages and $4 million in punitive damages after finding that asbestos in J&J’s Talc baby powder was responsible for her mesothelioma.
Joanne Anderson claimed she developed malignant mesothelioma as a result of her exposure to asbestos using J&J baby powder on her children and regular use on her hands and shoes during her years as an avid bowler. Her attorneys estimated Joanne used talcum more than 10,000 times.
WE CAN ONLY HOPE THESE VERDICTS HELP J&J SEE WHAT THE REST OF US DO. THEY ARE SELLING CANCER-CAUSING POWDER FOR USE ON THE MOST HELPLESS OF US – CHILDREN.
Verdicts holding for J&J include:
Nora Daniels – March 3, 2017 – The fourth Missouri trial ended in a victory for Johnson & Johnson and Imerys Talc America when the jury cleared them of responsibility for Daniels’ ovarian cancer.
Brandi Carl and Diana Balderrama – October 2016 – A New Jersey judge granted J&J’s summary judgment request ending the trials of two women diagnosed with ovarian cancer based on the fact that the methodologies utilized by the experts appeared to be litigation-driven, rather than scientifically and objectively grounded.
Bertilla Boyd-Bostic – May 2018 – A South Carolina jury could not decide if J&J was responsible for the mesothelioma that killed a 30-year old attorney, leading to a mistrial. It is likely this case will be retried.
Talcum Powder Lawsuits Outside the United States
In 1971, British researchers analyzed 13 ovarian tumors and found talc particles “deeply embedded” in 10 of them.
A group of nearly 20 Irish women diagnosed with ovarian cancer are contemplating filing a talc lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson regarding an alleged link between the company’s product and the deadly disease. Based on news provided by the Irish Times, these women have been waiting for the result of appeals filed in US Talcum Powder cases.
Other Talcum Powder Lawsuits
Canadian drugmaker Valeant paid more than $150 million for the rights to Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder in 2012, and now they face more than 33 talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuits. In June 2017, Valeant CEO Joseph Papa commented to investors and analysts, “it is our belief that J&J has obligations to pay for our legal defense and to indemnify Valeant”
Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer – Research Mounts
In 2006, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) scheduled a re-evaluation of talc. Based on limited data, they concluded that the inhalation of asbestos-free (pharmaceutical grade) talc was not carcinogenic to humans. Based on limited research for its link to ovarian cancer, however, IARC concluded that pharmaceutical grade talc could be “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”
Under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, “cosmetic products” and their ingredients (such as baby and shower powder) excluding additives, do not have to undergo FDA review or approval before they enter the market. Companies, however, have a legal responsibility to properly label their products with safety information and the ingredients in their products but are not required to share this info with the FDA.
As of today, the FDA has not reported on the link between Talc and Ovarian Cancer.
On the other hand, in 2009, the FDA took steps towards finding a link between talc and lung cancer. Of the nine talc suppliers asked by the FDA to provide samples of talc for the study, only four complied with their request. They also sampled talc-containing cosmetic products in the study. The survey found that no asbestos fibers or structures were present in any of the samples. Because of the limited number of samples, the FDA finds the results “informative,” but cannot prove that most or all products in the United States containing cosmetic grade talc are free of asbestos.
According to the results of a 2016 study published in Epidemiology, the risk of ovarian cancer is about 33 percent higher in women who have regularly used talcum powder in their genital area. The study, led by Dr. Daniel W. Cramer of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Epidemiology Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, studied approximately 2,041 women with ovarian cancer and 2,100 similar women without ovarian cancer about their talcum powder use.
Further research in 2016 conducted by researchers at the University of Virginia concentrated on the association between body powder use and ovarian cancer specifically within the African American community. This study found that regular use of talcum powder resulted in a higher risk of ovarian cancer, no matter where it was applied, and also that African-American Women were at a greater risk than any other demographic.
The University of Virginia research team took data from 584 black women with ovarian cancer and 745 women without the disease from across the U.S. They found that the women who used talc in their genital area had more than a 40 percent increased risk of cancer, while those who used talc but not in the genital area had an increased risk of over 30 percent. Nearly 63 percent of women with cancer and 53 percent of healthy women regularly used talc products.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 20,000 women develop ovarian cancer in the U.S. annually. Of these cases, 14,500 are fatal.
In a study conducted by the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, scientists found that from 2003-2007 there were about 24.4 cases of ovarian cancer out of 100,000 women for white women.
Talcum Powder and Asbestos – Can Talcum Powder Cause Mesothelioma?
July 12, 2018 – A St. Louis jury awarded $550 million to 22 plaintiffs who filed a suit against Johnson & Johnson claiming talcum powder caused their ovarian cancer after several years of using the product. The jury then added an additional $4.14 billion in punitive damages bringing the total to $4.69 billion. This landmark decision was the first talcum powder trial of its kind against Johnson & Johnson testing claims of asbestos in talcum powder.
Krystal Kim believes the Shower-to-Shower she used to “cut down on smells” for over 40 years was laced with asbestos leading to her ovarian cancer surgery in 2014. Kim is one of the hundreds of women that are now suing Johnson & Johnson claiming their powder is tainted with asbestos causing mesothelioma and ovarian cancer.
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the mesothelial cells, the protective layer of tissue around the lungs, heart, and stomach that cushions the organs, prevents friction, and allows for free movement of the body. Asbestos exposure is responsible for nearly all cases of mesothelioma, which leads to an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 deaths each year in the U.S. On average, the prognosis for a patient is less than one year from the time of a mesothelioma diagnosis.
Exposure to asbestos dust is considered to be the main cause of mesothelioma, and it is believed that those currently suffering from malignant mesothelioma were exposed to asbestos at least 20 years ago before the hazards of asbestos were widely known.
A 2014 study published in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health found that “one historic brand of cosmetic talcum powder associated with mesothelioma in women” contained asbestos and the application of the talc released inhalable asbestos fibers. Lung and lymph node tissues removed from the women at autopsy revealed the presence of pleural mesothelioma, and the tissues were found to contain anthophyllite and tremolite asbestos.
There are currently no federal regulations requiring that cosmetic-grade talcum powder product be asbestos-free but the American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents not to use talcum powder on babies because of safety issues.
Possible Link to Lung Cancer
In its natural form, talc contains asbestos, a proven cause of lung cancer. Talc miners and other jobs that involve a high risk of long-term exposure to natural (talc containing asbestos) talc fibers may have a higher chance of developing lung cancer from inhaling them.
All talcum products used in homes in the United States since the 1970’s have been asbestos free. Cosmetic grade talc is produced so that it conforms to the specifications of the United States Pharmacopeia (USP). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) believes it is unacceptable for cosmetic grade talc to be contaminated with asbestos.
Talcum Lawsuit Frequently Asked Questions
We believe the best lawyer is one that is both available to you as well as the one that gives you the best chance at compensation. TruLaw Talcum Powder Lawyers fit this criteria.
After signing the TruLaw contract, you will be introduced to more of your Talcum Powder legal team. The TruLaw lawyers and legal team are available to you via email or phone calls – you will find that you have many options for contacting us.
Most important to our clients is finding a lawyer that can get them maximum compensation so that they can take care of themselves while fighting ovarian cancer. TruLaw has a proven talcum legal teams who, in our experience, produce the best chance of recovery on your behalf. In order to get maximum compensation against a large company like Johnson & Johnson, your lawyer needs to have resources – time and money. TruLaw and our partner law firms have the resources necessary to see your case through to the end.
TruLaw and our partner law firms have successfully collected over $3 billion through verdicts and settlements on behalf of injured individuals in all 50 states. We look forward to successfully assisting you as well.
Talcum Powder lawsuits are designed to help you or your loved one financially recover while fighting the ovarian cancer that we believe may have been caused by Johnson & Johnson.
Your lawsuit should assist in covering your medical bills, the amount of income and benefits that you lost as a result of your ovarian cancer fight.
In addition, it is always our hope that your lawsuit will help us to get word out about dangerous products currently on the market. And, in the case of Johnson’s Baby Powder, we hope that the company will acknowledge their error in marketing this product to women for genital use and compensate those women during their time of need.
There is no Talcum Powder class action lawsuit. We often hear injured people refer to their personal injury case as a “class action” because their case was grouped together in a lawsuit with other injured people. Many Talcum Powder cases have been grouped together so the attorneys and judge can address common procedural issues initially, saving time for the injured parties and the court, but this is very generally referred to as a “mass tort.”
A motion was filed on July 15 with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) to consolidate numerous talc lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson arising from the risks associated with ovarian cancer.
The J&J talc-ovarian cancer lawsuits were consolidated by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation in October 2016 under the Honorable Freda L. Wolfson and Honorable Lois H. Goodman in the United States District Court of New Jersey. Johsnon & Johnson Talcum Powder Litigation MDL 2738 makes the common allegations that talc-based powders cause ovarian or uterine cancer, whether J&J knew or should have known about the connection between the company’s talc products and cancer, and whether the company sufficiently warned consumer about the associated risks.
Talcum Powder MDL Special Master
A special master has been assigned to oversee discovery in the talcum powder MDL related to litigation alleging J & J’s talc-based products cause ovarian cancer and uterine cancer.
Retired U.S. District Judge Joel A. Pisano will settle all disputes related to discovery in J&J Talcum Powder MDL 2738, according to an order issued by U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson. Judge Pisano has previously overseen a range of civil and criminal cases during his judicial career, including an MDL that consolidated a number of lawsuits filed over Merck’s osteoporosis drug Fosamax. Judge Pisano was appointed as a U.S. Magistrate Judge for the District of New Jersey as well as being appointed as U.S. District Judge by Bill Clinton. He retired from the judiciary in 2015 after more than 20 years spent on the federal bench and is now in private practice.
Special masters are often appointed by the court in multidistrict litigations to monitor and adjudicate discovery issues and help facilitate the settlement of cases on a continuing basis. They often hear appeals in situations where plaintiffs may dispute the settlement value of a particular case.
More Decisions in Talcum Powder MDL
In other developments related to the talcum powder litigation, women involved in the MDL last month said that they should be allowed to obtain samples of J&J’s talcum powder products that are alleged to cause cancer, claiming that there is no proof that they will be destroyed in testing. The move is seen as a strike back against J&J’s attempt to prevent parties from trying to obtain samples of the company’s talcum powder products. The women have not yet formally requested the samples, and are still discussing what types of testing should be used, how many tests are necessary, and how much of the talc will be required in the samples.
As of today, several high profile Talcum Powder lawsuits have moved forward and juries have awarded women diagnosed with ovarian cancer a total of $724 Million dollars, but there have been no settlements.
TruLaw is hopeful that productive settlement discussions will happen soon in order to compensate the thousands of women who believe their use of talcum powder resulted in a diagnosis of ovarian cancer. We will continue to update this page and our clients as resolution happens.
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