Talcum Powder Ovarian Cancer Trial Slated for February 2017
Johnson & Johnson will continue to face litigation involving its baby power and ovarian cancer claims. A talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuit is scheduled to go to trial in February 2017. Plaintiffs allege that use of talcum powder products, including J&J’s Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower, for feminine hygiene contributed to ovarian cancer. Lawsuits allege that J&J failed to disclose the risks to consumers. In 2016, three multimillion dollar verdicts were issued to women who developed ovarian cancer, allegedly due to talcum powder use.
The product liability attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP have decades of experience representing clients in lawsuits over allegedly defective or dangerous products. The firm, which regularly provides talcum powder lawsuit updates, continues to offer free legal consultations to individuals with questions about filing a talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuit.
Court records indicate that a talcum powder ovarian cancer trial is scheduled to begin on Feb. 6, 2017. The case involves six plaintiffs who used talc-based products, such as Baby Powder or Shower-to-Shower. These individuals developed cancer, and allege that their condition stems from using talcum powder products in the genital region.
Cosmetic and personal products often contain talc because it absorbs excess moisture and reduces friction. Talcum powder is therefore used in baby powder because it keeps skin dry and prevents diaper rash. Many adult body and facial powders are also talc-based. Talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuits are filed on behalf of women who used talc-based products in the genital or perineal region, on sanitary napkins or in their underwear for feminine hygiene.
Lawsuits allege that the fine talcum powder particles can travel up the female reproductive tract and accumulate in the ovaries. Plaintiffs allege that studies have linked talcum powder use to ovarian cancer, specifically citing one Harvard study published in 1982. Lawsuits also reference 1971 findings discussing talc particles embedded in ovarian tumors. Overall, studies on ovarian cancer and talcum powder have produced mixed results.
Plaintiffs in the talcum powder litigation allege that J&J should have paid more attention to research findings, and placed a warning on the product so that consumers could make the decision for themselves. J&J has maintained that its talcum powder products are safe for feminine hygiene use.
Multimillion Dollar Talcum Powder Ovarian Cancer Verdicts
Parker Waichman notes that in 2016, three multimillion dollar verdicts were awarded to talcum powder ovarian cancer plaintiffs. The first verdict was handed down in February. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a woman who died of ovarian cancer in 2015; jurors awarded $72 million to the plaintiff decedent’s family. In May, another jury awarded a $55 million talcum powder verdict to a woman diagnosed with cancer.
Most recently, a jury awarded $70 million in a talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuit. The plaintiff is a California woman diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer. According to the complaint, she used talcum powder in the genital region for 45 years. She alleges that perineal use of talcum powder contributed to her condition and that J&J failed to disclose this risk. The plaintiff has an eighty percent chance of dying within the next two years, jurors heard at trial. The $70 million verdict included $65 million in punitive damages and 90 percent of about $2.5 million in compensatory damages.
For the first time, a verdict was also handed down against talc supplier Talc America. The jury ordered the company to pay $2.3 million in punitive damages.
Jurors award punitive damages as a form of punishment, when they determine that the liable party’s actions are deserving. Punitive damages are awarded to hold parties liable, and discourage these types of actions in the future.
In awarding the verdict, jurors found that J&J failed to adequately warn consumers about the potential risk of talcum powder products. “It seemed like Johnson & Johnson didn’t pay attention,” one juror told Bloomberg. “It seemed like they didn’t care.”
Among other things, jurors heard testimony from an expert witness for the plaintiffs. The expert witness, who runs a compliance consulting firm for over-the-counter drugs and cosmetic products, testified that J&J should have placed a warning on its talcum powder products in 1982, following the results of the Harvard study. He also criticized J&J for how it dealt with prospective talcum powder ovarian cancer studies, citing 1994 documents showing the company did not want to pay for the studies, wanting the government to fund the research instead. “If you want to be self-regulated, step up to the plate and pay for the studies,” he said, according to Law360. “If you don’t want to be self-regulated, then have the taxpayers pay for it. I don’t think you can have it both ways.”
In October 2016, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) centralized talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuits into a federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) in New Jersey before U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson. MDLs transfer similar lawsuits to one court before one judge. The goal is to make complex litigation more efficient. In the talcum powder MDL, plaintiffs similarly allege that genital use of J&J talcum powder products contributed to ovarian cancer. Lawsuits allege that J&J failed to disclose the risks.
Bellwether cases are the first lawsuits in a mass tort selected for trial. The outcome of bellwether trials can influence the remaining litigation.
In addition to individual lawsuits, a talcum powder class action lawsuit was recently filed on behalf of 81 plaintiffs. Similar to other talcum powder ovarian cancer claims, the lawsuit alleges that talcum powder led to ovarian cancer. The suit alleges that the cancer resulted from the “unreasonably dangerous and defective nature of talcum powder and [Johnson & Johnson’s] wrongful and negligent conduct in the research, development, testing, manufacture, production, promotion, distribution, marketing, and sale of talcum powder.”
Questions about Talcum Powder Lawsuits?
If you or someone you know wants to learn more about filing a talcum powder lawsuit, contact the personal injury attorneys at Parker Waichman today. Our firm offers free, no-obligation case evaluations. For more information, fill out our online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).