A Missouri jury on Monday awarded a woman $55 million after she filed a lawsuit against Johnson and Johnson alleging that the company knew that some of their talc-powder products, such as baby powder, may increase the risk of developing ovarian cancer but failed to warn consumers.
The Plaintiff, Gloria Ristesund, developed ovarian cancer after using talc-powder products on her genitals for decades. The jury awarded her $50 million in punitive damages and $5 million in compensatory damages.
The verdict was the second time a jury decided against the company in a talc-related case. There are now almost 1,200 similar lawsuits pending against Johnson and Johnson. Earlier this year a jury awarded a woman $72 million to a woman who also claimed prolonged talc-powder use caused her to develop ovarian cancer.
Some people are suggesting Johnson and Johnson should consider setting up a settlement program to dispose of talc cases because the cases could threaten the company’s public image.
“The more talc verdicts that come down against them adds to the public’s growing distrust of their baby powder, which is one of their iconic products,” said Carl Tobias, who teaches product-liability law at the University of Richmond in Virginia. “There are both economic and reputational issues that may motivate them to start thinking about a global settlement of these cases.”
Ristesund’s attorney told jurors that there was more than enough evidence to support the claim that Johnson and Johnson knew or should have known about the increased risk of ovarian cancer linked to their products.
“Science has been simple and consistent over the last 40 years: There’s an increased risk of ovarian cancer from genital use of talc,’’ Allen Smith, Ristesund’s lawyer, told jurors.
The company plans to appeal the verdict according to a spokesperson. The company faces another talc-powder trial in September.
The Dr. Shazad Malik law firm is now reviewing talc-powder cases from across the country. If you or a loved have suffered from using baby powder or other Johnson and Johnson talc-powder products, contact our office immediately