Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay more than $110M in damages to a Virginia woman who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using the company’s talcum powder products. The verdict is the fourth legal defeat for Johnson & Johnson in the Missouri litigation over its talcum baby powder brands, which has resulted in combined verdicts of more than $300 million.
The latest verdict involved a lawsuit filed by Lois Slemp, a Virginia woman who used Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products – including Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower – for more than 40 years. Slemp was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012, and is currently undergoing chemotherapy after the cancer spread to her liver. Slemp alleged her cancer diagnosis was caused by her use of Johnson & Johnson’s talc products.
According to the lawsuit, Johnson & Johnson failed to warn women about the risk of using talcum powder for feminine hygiene in spite of the fact that the company knew about the dangers of these products for years. Slemp’s attorneys argued that Johnson & Johnson also pressured FDA officials not to add a warning about the risk of cancer associated with using talcum powder. The FDA launched an investigation earlier this year into the link between talcum powder and cancer, following warnings from other international health agencies about the carcinogenic effects of talc products.
Slemp’s lawsuit also alleged that Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products were contaminated with asbestos, a naturally-occurring mineral that is linked to an increased risk of mesothelioma and other types of cancer. Although some talc naturally contains asbestos, commercial talc products have been free of asbestos since the 1970s.
After a 17 day trial, jurors agreed that Johnson & Johnson had withheld information about the cancer risks associated with its talc products. The jury awarded more than $110 million in damages to Slemp, the largest verdict in any of the talcum powder lawsuits so far. The $110 million verdict included $66 million in punitive damages against Johnson & Johnson, $39 million in punitive damages against J&J Consumer, and $5.4 million in compensatory damages against both companies combined. The verdict also included about $100,000 in punitive and compensatory damages against Imerys Talc America, which mined the talc used in Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products.
The $110 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson is the fourth legal defeat for Johnson & Johnson in the hundreds of lawsuits filed in St. Louis, Missouri over its talcum powder products. In May 2016, a jury awarded $72 million to the family of an Alabama woman who died from ovarian cancer after years of using talcum powder products sold by Johnson & Johnson. The company was ordered to pay damages of $55 million and $70 million later that year to two other women who filed suit in Missouri after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
Johnson & Johnson is currently facing about 3,000 lawsuits nationwide filed by women who were diagnosed with cancer after using its talcum powder products. In addition to lawsuits that are currently pending in Missouri and New Jersey, lawsuits have also been filed against the company in California. The first talcum powder lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson in California is scheduled to go to trial in July 2017.
If you or a loved one were diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using talcum powder or baby powder products sold by Johnson & Johnson or other manufacturers, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit. The first step in determining if you qualify to file a claim is to speak with an attorney to learn more about your legal rights and determine the first steps in filing a claim.
The lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson are currently representing dozens of women who were diagnosed with cancer linked to their use of talcum powder. Our firm has also filed lawsuits on behalf of our clients in a number of other product liability matters, including cases involving dangerous drugs, defective medical devices, and other commercial products.
Heygood, Orr & Pearson has taken on some of the largest companies in the world on behalf of our clients. Our attorneys are trial lawyers in the truest sense of the term, and are prepared to take a case all the way to court in order to ensure justice for our clients. Our firm is dedicated to the belief that all consumers should have the right to experienced and qualified legal counsel to ensure that their rights are fully protected in a court of law.
For more information about whether you may qualify to file a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson or other talcum powder companies, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson for a free legal consultation. You can reach us by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by completing our free case evaluation form at the top of this page to get started.