Johnson & Johnson Ordered to Pay a Record $417 Million in Talcum Powder Lawsuit

A hospitalized woman who claims that Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder caused her ovarian cancer was awarded a record $417 million on Monday. The lawsuit alleges that when used for feminine hygiene, talc particles in the baby powder can enter the vagina and embed in the ovaries, leading to irritation, inflammation and – potentially – this especially-aggressive type of cancer.

The lawsuit brought by Eva Echeverria is the highest award in a string of talcum powder verdicts  across the nation over the last few years. Echeverria claims to have used the baby powder daily for more than 50 years, until she received the ovarian cancer diagnosis in 2007. According to her lawsuit, the cancer was a direct result “of the unreasonably dangerous and defective nature of talcum powder.” A MA product liability attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by a talc-based product.

The $417 million award consisted of $340 million in punitive damages and $68 million in compensatory damages. Included in the evidence presented in the case were multiple internal documents showing that Johnson & Johnson was aware of the risks associated with its baby powder but continued to market the product anyway. According to Johnson & Johnson spokeswoman Carol Goodrich, the company plans to appeal the verdict because scientific research supports the product’s safety.

“We are guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder,” wrote Goodrich in a statement. “In April, the National Cancer Institute’s Physician Data Query Editorial Board wrote, ‘The weight of evidence does not support an association between perineal talc exposure and an increased risk of ovarian cancer.’ We are preparing for additional trials in the U.S., and we will continue to defend the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder.”

Does Talcum Powder Cause Cancer?

Talc is a mineral that is often mined alongside asbestos, another well-known carcinogen. In fact, asbestos was found in some talc-based powders in the past. But does talcum powder actually cause cancer? According to Dr. Daniel Cramer, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, the answer is yes. “Overall, women may increase their risk in general by about 33 percent by using talc in their hygiene,” said Cramer.

When women put talcum powder in their underwear for feminine hygiene purposes, talc particles may travel through the fallopian tubes to the ovaries, where they embed, causing irritation and inflammation which can lead to cancer over time. A Boston product liability attorney can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured by talcum powder or another dangerous product.

Millions Awarded in Multiple Talcum Powder Verdicts

Although this most recent award was the largest talcum powder lawsuit, it is far from the only one. In May, a jury awarded $110.5 million to a woman who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using baby powder for more than four decades. And three other trials received large sums last year, ranging from $55 million to $72 million. In total, more than 1,000 lawsuits have been filed. Some have been thrown out, others have received smaller awards, and many are still pending.

Altman & Altman, LLP – Boston’s Top Product Liability Law Firm

If you have been injured by a dangerous or defective product, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have been protecting the rights of accident and injury victims for more than 50 years. When companies are aware that their products are dangerous and fail to warn the general public, they should be held accountable for their actions. If you have been harmed due to another’s negligence, we can help. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.




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