Lawsuit Claims Dangers of Talc More Prevalent than First Thought

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A Missouri plaintiff alleges there are at least 20 scientific studies that associate genital use of talc with an increased risk of ovarian cancer. According to her complaint, one of the studies shows talcum powder may account for as many as 10 percent of all ovarian cancer cases in the United States. The allegations are troubling in light of the growing litigation against Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturer of numerous talc products.

Ovarian cancer diagnosis after talc use

Dolores Cerrone-Kennedy and her husband, Josh Kennedy, filed their talc lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri on July 21. In the complaint, Cerrone-Kennedy states she has used Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder since her childhood and throughout her adult years. In 2011, when she was just 47 years old, Cerrone-Kennedy was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer.

Cerrone-Kennedy underwent surgery to remove more than 1500 ccs of cancerous fluid and half of a large malignant tumor from her body. The surgery was followed by three rounds of chemotherapy. At that point, surgery was again performed to remove the other half of the tumor, followed by another six rounds of chemotherapy.

Cancer in remission but fear remains

Cerrone-Kennedy states in her complaint that her cancer is currently in remission. However, she has been told that she has an 80-percent risk of the cancer returning, with just a 50-percent survival rate at that time. According to some of her physicians, her cancer will return full force at some point — it is just a matter of when.

In addition to living with the fear of a cancer recurrence, Cerrone-Kennedy has experienced serious and permanent side effects from the chemotherapy, including short-term memory loss, tremors, neuropathy and osteoarthritis. These side effects have profoundly impacted her quality of life. Now 52 years old, Cerrone-Kennedy is no longer able to operate a motor vehicle or leave her house alone. She has been unable to work since her cancer treatment, even though she spent most of her adult life working in the healthcare industry before her cancer diagnosis.

Studies show link between talc and cancer

Cerrone-Kennedy states in her complaint that her experience is not uncommon. In fact, the plaintiff cites as many as 20 clinical studies, beginning as early as 1971, which showed a compelling association between use of talcum powder in the perineal area and an increased occurrence of ovarian cancer. Researchers from at least two of those studies urged Johnson & Johnson to add a warning about ovarian cancer risks to their product label based on their findings.

Johnson & Johnson has not provided any type of warning regarding ovarian cancer to their product labels and continues to assert that their talcum powder products are harmless and beneficial. However, two juries have awarded plaintiffs in talcum powder lawsuits millions of dollars in damages after determining the company failed to provide proper warning about health hazards.

In the first case, a jury awarded $72 million to the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer after using talc products for more than 30 years. Months later, another jury awarded $55 million to a plaintiff who claimed she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using talcum powder products.

In this particular case, Cerrone-Kennedy and her husband are seeking punitive damages, and cite counts of breach of warranty, negligent misrepresentation and civil conspiracy. Cerrone-Kennedy’s husband is also seeking compensation for loss of consortium, alleging his wife’s injuries have led to loss of her services and companionship.

If you or someone you love has been injured through talcum powder use, legal help is available. Contact the Bonsignore trial lawyers today at 1-888-461-8710 for a free case evaluation and answers to all your legal questions.

Resources:

  1. New York Times, Lawsuits over Baby Powder Raise Questions about Cancer Risk, http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/05/23/lawsuits-over-baby-powder-raise-questions-about-cancer-risk/?_r=0
  2. Huffington Post, Why You Shouldn’t Put Baby Powder Down There, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/talc-linked-to-ovarian-cancer-risk-in-african-american-women_us_5751a1dbe4b0ed593f142915
  3. Medical Daily, Johnson & Johnson Pays $55 Million in Second Lawsuit Claiming Talcum Powder Products Cause Ovarian Cancer, http://www.medicaldaily.com/johnson-johnson-lawsuit-talcum-powder-products-ovarian-cancer-385166

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