In late October, a St. Louis jury awarded a woman, Deborah Giannecchini, compensatory and punitive damages in her talcum powder lawsuit alleging that Johnson & Johnson’s talc products caused her ovarian cancer
Ms. Giannecchini, 63, was diagnosed with Stage IV ovarian cancer in 2012. She had used talcum powder for feminine hygiene purposes for four decades. Her doctors testified that she has an 80% chance of dying over the next two years.
Ms. Giannecchini was awarded more than $70 million in total damages. Johnson & Johnson’s co-defendant, Imerys Talc America, Inc., was ordered to pay $2.5 million in damages.
After the verdict, she stated, “I’ve waited for a long time for this. I’ve wanted this so badly.”
Approximately 2,000 women have filed suits against makers of talc-based products, primarily Johnson & Johnson, alleging that the products cause ovarian cancer. It is believed that the fine particles, sprinkled on the body, go up through the cervix to lodge in the ovaries, causing long-term inflammation and tumor formation.
J&J’s two most popular talcum powder products are Baby Powder and Shower to Shower.
Studies Link Talcum Powder to Cancer
A connection between ovarian cancer cases and talcum powder has been known since the 1970s.
A study done by Brigham and Women’s Hospital in 2013 indicated that women who were users of talcum powder were at higher risk for developing ovarian cancer — between 20% and 30% increased risk compared to women who didn’t use it.
This latest case asserted that the defendant was aware of three decades worth of studies showing a link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer.
Johnson & Johnson has continued to assert that the science does not support any link between talcum powder use and cancer.
At times, juries have sided with the pharmaceutical giant. Prior to the three plaintiff victories, the company had been found not liable for negligence. Two cases in New Jersey early in 2016 were dismissed, with the judge citing absence of reliable evidence of any connection.
In the late October case, the jury indicated that Johnson & Johnson should have placed warning labels on its talcum powder products.
Johnson & Johnson plans to appeal the recent decision.
Consult with talcum powder attorneys
If you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and have reason to believe talcum powder was a causal factor, we invite you to contact The Bonsignore Trial Lawyers for a free case review. Our veteran product liability lawyers accept cases throughout the country and have a proven track record of success.
- Bowerman, Mary. “Johnson & Johnson to Pay $72M in Talcum Powder-Related Cancer Case.” February 24, 2016. USAToday. http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/nation-now/2016/02/24/johnson-johnson-lawsuit-baby-powder-talcum-ovarian-cancer-link/80845030/
- Chen, Lucinda, “Johnson & Johnson Ordered to Pay $70 Million to California Woman for Cancer-Linked Baby Powder.” October 28, 2016. Fortune. http://fortune.com/2016/10/28/johnson-johnson-pays-70-million-to-california-woman-for-cancer-causing-baby-powder/
- “Jury Awards More than $70 Million to Woman in Baby Powder Lawsuit.” October 28, 2016. CNBC. http://www.cnbc.com/2016/10/28/jury-awards-more-than-70-million-to-woman-in-baby-powder-lawsuit.html