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Talcum Powder Ovarian Cancer Death Leads Mother to File Lawsuit Against Johnson & Johnson

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Johnson & Johnson faces a new wrongful death lawsuit, brought by a mother who alleges that regular use of talcum powder caused her daughter to develop ovarian cancer and die. 

The complaint (PDF) was filed last week in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana by Lucy Tetlow, who indicates that regular use of talcum powder for decades caused the ovarian cancer death last year of her daughter, Laurie Tetlow.

According to the lawsuit, Tetlow experienced severe pain and suffering before she died on November 4, 2016, indicating that the death was caused by the unreasonably dangerous and defective nature of talcum powder products sold and manufactured by Johnson & Johnson.

Although talcum powder is most commonly associated with use among infants to prevent diaper rash and maintain smooth skin, the products are widely used among adult women and Johnson & Johnson has promoted such use to maintain “personal freshness.” Given the popularity of Johnson’s Baby Powder among adult women, the company introduced and marketed Shower-to-Shower body powder for this specific purpose.

The case joins more than 2,000 similar Johnson’s Baby Powder lawsuits and Shower-to-Shower lawsuits filed nationwide by women and their families, raising nearly identical allegations that consumers were not adequately warned about the link between daily talcum powder use and cancer.

“The Defendants failed to inform their customers and end users of the products of a known catastrophic health hazard associated with the use of its products,” the lawsuit filed by Lucy Tetlow states. “In addition, the Defendants procured and disseminated false, misleading, and biased information regarding the safety of the products to the public and used influence over governmental and regulatory bodies regarding talc.”

So far this year, at least two talcum powder ovarian cancer cases have gone to trial in St. Louis over Johnson & Johnson’s failure to warn about the cancer risk with their popular products. Each of those trials resulted in a multi-million dollar damage award due to the failure to provide appropriate talcum powder warnings for women.

Earlier this month, a panel of federal judges ordered all talcum powder lawsuits filed at the federal level be consolidated before one judge for pretrial proceedings in New Jersey, where District Judge Freda Wolfson will preside over coordinated discovery and bellwether trials.

As talcum powder cancer lawyers continue to review and file cases over the coming months and years, it is ultimately expected the number of complaints pending nationwide will continue to grow.

If talcum powder cancer settlements are not reached by Johnson & Johnson following bellwether trials or the coordinated proceedings in the federal MDL, it is possible that large numbers of cases may be remanded back to U.S. District Courts nationwide for individual trial dates.

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