Recent Talcum Powder Settlements
Many women have used Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based products for feminine hygiene purposes, believing that Baby Powder and Shower to Shower® posed no serious health risks. However, in studies dating back to 1971, researchers have found a suspected link between talcum powder use and the development of ovarian cancer. Allegations that Johnson & Johnson was aware of this risk and concealed it from consumers have led many to file lawsuits in state and federal courts. Although most claims are still pending or yet to be filed, there have recently been two landmark talcum powder settlements awarded in some of the earliest trials. If you or your family have been impacted by these products, you may be entitled to significant compensation. Please contact an experienced defective products attorney in your area today.
Talcum Powder Litigation
The majority of the claims in the talcum powder lawsuit are still pending or have yet to be filed, as this litigation is still in its earliest stages. These cases will likely be consolidated in multidistrict litigation (MDL) to be heard before one judge. This type of lawsuit can streamline the evidence discovery process and eliminate inconsistent rulings, while still allowing individual claimants to retain their own legal representation and obtain settlements or jury awards based on their unique injuries.
Deborah Giannecchini $70 Million Jury Award
On October 27, 2016, a St. Louis jury awarded Deborah Giannecchini $70 million in her talcum powder lawsuit. Her trial, which began on September 26, 2016, accused Johnson & Johnson of negligent conduct in the making and marketing of their products. Mrs. Giannecchini had used talcum powder products for over four decades before being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012. Attorneys for the plaintiff further alleged that Johnson & Johnson was aware of the "30 years of studies that show an increased risk of ovarian cancer from the use of talc" and instead of providing warnings to the public, the company "developed a defense strategy to prevent government regulation of its products."
Jacqueline Fox $72 Million Settlement
Jacqueline Fox, an African American woman, had used Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower® hygiene products for over 35 years before being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She filed a claim against the company alleging that Johnson & Johnson was aware of the association between talcum powder and ovarian cancer, and chose to conceal this information from the public.
A key piece of evidence in Mrs. Fox’s case was an internal company memo that cited growing public knowledge of the cancer connection as the cause for reduced sales numbers. The author of the memo then recommended concentrating their marketing efforts towards women in the African American and Hispanic communities, where their products are more commonly used.
If you have been injured by a defective drug, Speak with an Attorney
Unfortunately, Mrs. Fox passed away in October 2015, about two years after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Her son continued her legal pursuit against Johnson & Johnson, and in February 2016, after a three-week trial, a jury in St. Louis, MO, deliberated for only four hours before awarding $72 million to Mrs. Fox’s family.
Gloria Ristesund $55 Million Settlement
In May 2016, Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $55 million to Gloria Ristesund. Mrs. Ristesund had used the company’s products for feminine hygiene purposes over the course of several decades before being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Mrs. Ristesund was forced to undergo a hysterectomy and other surgical procedures in order to treat the condition. Thankfully, her cancer is now in remission.
Jurors deliberated for less than a day after hearing testimony in Mrs. Ristesund’s three-week trial in Missouri state court. She was awarded $5 million in compensatory damages and $50 million in punitive damages. Mrs Ristesund’s attorney stated that the jury’s decision should end talcum powder litigation and compel Johnson & Johnson to settle the remaining cases.
Deane Berg $1.3 Million Settlement Offer
Deane Berg was diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer in 2007 after using Baby Powder and Shower to Shower® products for feminine hygiene purposes. Mrs. Berg underwent a full hysterectomy and removal of both ovaries before beginning a course of chemotherapy. While reading through literature about her condition she discovered the link to talcum powder.
Daily use of talc products was the only risk factor for ovarian cancer that applied to Mrs. Berg. She had no family history of the condition, was a non-smoker, and was not overweight. In 2013, she filed a claim against Johnson & Johnson and turned down a settlement offer of $1.3 million because she refused to sign a confidentiality agreement. For Mrs. Berg, this case was not about financial compensation. She was only interested in sharing her story so that other women may be protected.
A South Dakota jury found that Johnson & Johnson was liable for fraud, negligence, and conspiracy after attorneys argued that the company was aware of the dangers posed by their products but did not inform consumers. However, Mrs. Berg was not awarded any damages from the company. South Dakota is a very conservative state that requires a unanimous jury decision to award compensation in product liability cases.
Contact a Talcum Powder Attorney
The majority of talcum powder claims are still pending or have yet to be filed. If you or your family have been affected by these products, please contact an experienced product liability attorney to discuss your legal options.