One more talcum powder case verdict goes to the plaintiff. On August 21, 2017, a California court ordered Johnson and Johnson (J&J) to pay $417 million to Eva Echeverria, a 63-year-old California woman, who claims she used J&J Baby Powder as part of her daily feminine hygiene routine since she was 11 years old. After reading about another user developing ovarian cancer in 2016, she discontinued use, and was diagnosed with the disease herself, in 2017.
Many Other Talcum Powder Cases
This is the largest verdict against J&J in regards to their baby powder product to date. Including this case, there have been five verdicts against the manufacturer to date, totaling over $700 million. Echeverria based her case on J&J’s failure to warn consumers of the risks of using baby powder as a feminine hygiene product. J&J maintains that since baby powder is a cosmetic, rather than a drug, that they are under no obligation to provide warnings.
J&J Response to Verdict
While J&J’s spokesperson, Carol Goodrich, sympathized with women who have developed ovarian cancer, she added: “We will appeal today’s verdict because we are guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder…We are preparing for additional trials in the US and we will continue to defend the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder.”
Many other cases to be heard
It is estimated that nearly 4,800 similar cases against J&J are working their way through the legal system in the United States. Cases at the federal level have been consolidated under a Multi-District Litigation (MDL) being heard before U.S. District Judge Freda Wolfson in the District Court in New Jersey. Under the MDL, pre-trial motions and discovery are consolidated before a single judge, but cases maintain their independence and will settle individually based on the merits of the case. This case was brought in State Court in California, and did not join the MDL.
Baby Powder verdicts have been discussed earlier this year on this blog. While no causal link has been discovered which proves that talcum powder, the primary ingredient in J&J’s Baby Powder, several studies have concluded that there is a statistical link between women using talcum powder and absorbing it into their reproductive systems and their development of ovarian cancer.
We will continue to follow this and other product cases as they progress. This case is notable due to the large amount of the verdict, which consists of $70 million in compensatory damages, and $347 million in punitive damages. There are hundreds of additional California cases yet to go to trial.
Richard Harris Law Firm and Talcum Powder Cases
We believe that providers of consumer products have an obligation to provide products that are safe to use, and that consumers have a right to know what risks they face from use of the products. Manufacturers must inform their customers of risks associated with their products.
Talc is a very difficult substance for the body to break down. Since 1971, studies have shown that talc does not break down in the body and that it was present in a majority of ovarian tumors studied. This research has been supported by subsequent studies by different sets of researchers.
If you have used J&J Baby Powder as a feminine hygiene product and have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, we are interested in learning more about your case. Call us today at (702) 444-4444.