$72 Million Verdict Awarded in Talc Cancer Lawsuit
A Missouri jury ordered J&J to pay $72 million in damages to the family of Jackie Fox, whose ovarian cancer was allegedly tied to her use of the company’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products. The stunning talc cancer verdict included $62 million in punitive damages, according to court records. The Alabama woman used J&J’s iconic talc powders for feminine hygiene purposes for more than 30 years prior to developing ovarian cancer. She succumbed to the disease last October at the young age of 62.
The pharmaceutical giant, which was found liable for negligence, fraud and conspiracy, faces charges that it failed to warn consumers that its talc-based products could cause cancer when used around the genitals. St. Louis jurors deliberated a mere four hours before handing down their judgement.
Legal counsel for the plaintiffs confirms that trials for other baby powder lawsuits have been scheduled for later this year.
$72 million verdict awarded for talc cancer death
After Fox’s death in 2015, two years after she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, her son took over her claim. The family’s attorneys argue that J&J has known for decades about the link between talc and cancer, yet continued “lying to the public, lying to the regulatory agencies.”
The trial introduced damning evidence against J&J, including a 1997 internal memo penned by a medical consultant for the defendant, which suggested that anyone denying cancer risks of perineal talc use is essentially “denying the obvious in the face of all evidence to the contrary.”
Legal analysts say the verdict doesn’t bode well for Johnson & Johnson, which currently faces some 1,200 talc cancer lawsuits in state courts. Roughly 1,000 claims are filed in Missouri state court, and another 200 complaints are pending in New Jersey.
A Johnson & Johnson spokeswoman said that while they sympathize with the plaintiff’s family, they strongly disagree with the judgement and plan to appeal.
J&J knew of cancer risks for years
The Fox’s lawsuit marks the first time a U.S. jury has awarded compensation in a claim regarding the adverse health effects of talcum powder. In 2013, a South Dakota federal jury found that J&J’s talc products were a contributing factor in the ovarian cancer of plaintiff Dianne Berg. However, the panel failed to award monetary damages.
Research into the carcinogenic effects of talc-based powders remains divided, though several studies give credence to concerns about the long-term safety of talc when applied around the genitals.
One 2003 meta-analysis of 16 studies that included 12,000 women found that regular talc use increased ovarian cancer risk by 30 percent. A later 2013 review of multiple studies found a similar increase in cancer risk, but was limited to patients who used talc for feminine hygiene. Scientists believe that talc particles may travel through the reproductive tract, causing inflammation and epithelial tumor growth.
National product liability attorneys get results
Based on this $72 million verdict, it stands to reason that other juries will find that J&J acted negligently in an effort to boost talc product sales, and will find for other plaintiffs. New cases are being filed by many women who used talcum powder for years and have now been diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
The Sanders Firm is currently offering free case evaluations to anyone who believes they may have a viable claim against J&J or other talc manufacturers. We are a national product liability firm with five decades of combined experience litigating mass torts and personal injury lawsuits involving harmful drugs, medical devices and personal care products.
Empower yourself with legal representation from the nation’s finest product liability attorneys who can take on Big Pharma and win. Arrange a free consultation by calling 1-800-FAIRPLAY.
- Reuters, J&J must pay $72 million for cancer death linked to talcum powder: lawyers http://www.reuters.com/article/us-johnson-johnson-verdict-idUSKCN0VW20A
- USA Today, Johnson & Johnson to pay $72M in talcum powder-related cancer case http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/nation-now/2016/02/24/johnson-johnson-lawsuit-baby-powder-talcum-ovarian-cancer-link/80845030/