Johnson & Johnson Liability in Talc Powder Ovarian Cancer Cases Mounts, As Company Appeals and Defends Lawsuits

Following landmark verdicts in back-to-back talc powder lawsuits brought on behalf of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer following use of Johnson’s Baby Powder, Shower-to-Shower and other similar products, Johnson & Johnson suggests that it will continue to defend cases and appeal individual judgments, potentially exposing the company to huge liability by refusing to settle cases.

Earlier this month, a St. Louis jury awarded $55 million in a talc ovarian cancer case brought by Gloria Ristesund, after finding that the manufacturer recklessly disregarded the health and safety of women who used the company’s baby and body powders for feminine hygiene purposes.

This verdict came only weeks after another jury awarded $72 million in a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the family of Jackie Fox, who died from ovarian cancer after decades of talc use. Both verdicts included punitive damages designed to punish Johnson & Johnson for the actions surrounding the marketing of talc powder for use by adult women.

Many legal experts predict that these cases are only the “tip of the iceberg” for Johnson & Johnson, with about 2,000 other Johnson’s Baby Powder lawsuits and Shower-to-Shower ovarian cancer lawsuits pending in courts throughout the U.S., and thousands of additional claims likely to be filed in the coming months and years, as women and families nationwide learn about the link between talc powder and ovarian cancer.

In a press release issued after the Ristesund verdict, Johnson & Johnson continued to stand by the safety of their talc cosmetic products, indicating that it will appeal the most recent decision by a St. Louis Circuit Court jury and “continue to defend the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder.”

The company is also preparing to present the same defense offered in the cases presented by Ristesund and the Fox family in other talcum powder trials that are expected to begin in the coming months.

According to a recent Reuter’s report, Johnson & Johnson has ignored calls that it establish a compensation fund to settle talc ovarian cancer cases, potentially exposing the company to a steady stream of substantial verdicts.

Talc Powder Cancer Risks

While talc powder is most commonly associated with use as a baby powder to help prevent diaper rash and maintain smooth skin, Johnson & Johnson has promoted their products for decades as a general body powder among adult women, who were encouraged to use talcum powder after every shower and place it in their underwear to maintain “personal freshness”.

A number of studies have indicated that talcum powder can increase the risk of ovarian cancer when applied to a woman’s genitals. At least one study even found particles of talc at the center of ovarian tumors. Despite the findings, the company continues to refuse to provide warnings for women about the link between talc and ovarian cancer, apparently doubling down on the decision to ignore the potential risk for decades.

Evidence presented at trial in both the Ristesund and Fox cases included company documents that suggested Johnson & Johnson was aware of the potential link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer since the 1970s. However, even as recently as 1992, some documents indicate that the company specifically targeted sales towards women who were high users of talcum powder, without ever warning them of the possible cancer risks.

After Ristesund was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, she underwent a hysterectomy and particles of talc were found inside of her ovarian tumors, yet the manufacturer continues to maintain that there is no connection between the diagnosis and their products.

If additional juries respond with similar verdicts after considering the evidence, and Johnson & Johnson fails to present compelling reason to overturn the decisions on appeal, the manufacturer could face substantial liability if talc powder ovarian cancer settlements are not reached to resolve individual claims brought by women and families throughout the U.S.

1 Comments

  • TessSeptember 10, 2020 at 11:07 pm

    I currently have, uterine fibroid tumors, complex ovarian tumors, endometriosis, bleeding heavy post menopause, extremely painful, getting a complete hysterectomy and reconstruction in a few weeks. I am a life long user of Johnson and Johnson baby powder and shower to shower talcum powder. I am looking for questions to ask the surgeons to look for or test for with the removal of my tissues. Your i[Show More]I currently have, uterine fibroid tumors, complex ovarian tumors, endometriosis, bleeding heavy post menopause, extremely painful, getting a complete hysterectomy and reconstruction in a few weeks. I am a life long user of Johnson and Johnson baby powder and shower to shower talcum powder. I am looking for questions to ask the surgeons to look for or test for with the removal of my tissues. Your input would be helpful, thank you.

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