Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay $72 million in lawsuit linking talcum baby powder to ovarian cancer

by Jim Orr

A jury in St. Louis has awarded a $72 million verdict to the family of an Alabama woman who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using products containing talcum powder, including Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower body powder. The lawsuit filed by Jacqueline Fox is one of more than 1,200 lawsuits filed by women who developed ovarian cancer after using Johnson & Johnson talcum products.

According to the lawsuit, Fox used Johnson’s Baby Powder and other talcum powder products for about 35 years. In 2012, a pathologist determined that inflammation on her ovaries had been caused by talc; this inflammation later turned into ovarian cancer. Fox passed away from cancer in Fall 2015, leaving her son, Marvin Salter, as the lead plaintiff in the case.

Salter said that using Johnson’s Baby Powder and other talcum products became second nature for his mother, just like brushing her teeth. But as lawyers in the case argued at trial, this daily routine proved to be deadly because of the health risks associated with using talcum products.

The lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson accused the company of continuing to use talcum powder in its products for years despite the fact that safer alternatives were available and failing to warn the public about the risk of using talcum products. Talcum powder consists mainly of talc, a naturally-occurring mineral comprised of magnesium, silicon, oxygen, and hydrogen, which is used in many hygiene products for its ability to absorb moisture.

Attorneys representing Jacqueline Fox and her family said that based on the evidence presented at the trial, it was clear that Johnson & Johnson had spent decades preparing for lawsuits over its talcum products. An internal memo written in 1997 by a consultant hired by Johnson & Johnson stated that denying the link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer would be perceived by the public the same way as anyone who denied the link between cigarette smoking and cancer. Another document presented at the trial noted the declining sales of Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products and suggested strategies for marketing these products to minorities, including African-Americans and Hispanics.

Jurors in the case said after the trial that evidence was clear that Johnson & Johnson had tried to conceal evidence of the link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer from consumers such as Fox. Based on this evidence, they awarded $10 million in actual damages to Fox’s family, as well as $62 million in punitive damages against Johnson & Johnson.

Fox’s case against Johnson & Johnson was part of a mass tort case filed in St. Louis court and involving about 60 other plaintiffs. Fox’s lawsuit was the first of these cases to go to trial. In addition to the dozens of other plaintiffs in the Missouri litigation, hundreds of additional plaintiffs across the U.S. have also filed lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson in connections with the company’s baby powder and other talcum products.

Diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer Caused by Talcum Powder? You May Qualify to File a Lawsuit

If you or a loved one used Johnson’s Baby Powder, Shower to Shower body powder, or other talcum powder products and were diagnosed with ovarian cancer, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson or other companies who manufactured these products. The first step in taking legal action is to speak with an attorney who has the experience in handling personal injury and product liability cases in order to successfully handle your case all the way to a verdict or settlement.

The law firm of Heygood, Orr & Pearson has handled hundreds of cases involving personal injury or products liability on behalf of our clients. Our attorneys have tried literally hundreds of cases to verdict and have settled hundreds more. Heygood, Orr & Pearson has secured verdicts and settlements for our clients totaling more than $200 million.

Above all, we firmly believe that when companies who manufacture medical devices fail to ensure that their products meet basic health and safety standards, they should be held accountable for the harm caused by their products in a court of law. Our firm is dedicated to the belief that all patients should have the right to experienced and qualified legal counsel to ensure that their interests are represented and that their rights are protected.

Hundreds of lawsuits have already been filed by patients who were diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using talcum products manufactured by Johnson & Johnson or other companies. For a free legal consultation to find out whether you may qualify to file a lawsuit, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001. You can also reach us by following the link to our free case evaluation form and answering a few simple questions about your case to get started.

by Jim Orr

Jim Orr is a licensed attorney and a partner at HO&P focusing on business and personal injury litigation. Jim was selected multiple times to the Super Lawyers List and has tried 70+ cases to verdict.