Johnson & Johnson Slammed with $72 Million Talcum Powder Lawsuit Verdict
The significant talcum powder lawsuit payout sets a staggering precedent for the 1,200 talc-cancer claims pending in courts around the nation.
February 24, 2016 - A jury in St. Louis sided with the plaintiff this week, pinning Johnson & Johnson with $72 million in damages and confirming a connection between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. The plaintiff was Jacquelyn Fox, a 62-year-old woman who passed away last fall after a long battle with ovarian cancer. Ms. Fox alleged the ovarian cancer that ultimately killed her was caused by her use of talc-containing products marketed by Johnson & Johnson.
The talcum powder lawsuit verdict holds Johnson & Johnson liable for the injuries to Ms. Fox, and for her untimely death. The largest supplier of personal care products in the world, Johnson & Johnson was found guilty of negligence, fraud, and conspiracy by a 10-2 jury vote. The jury deliberated for more than four hours, following a three-week trial that included depositions from medical experts, researchers, and a recording of Ms. Fox herself, made shortly before her death.
Internal documents produced in the lawsuit ultimately convinced him, juror Jerome Kendrick explained. "[Johnson & Johnson] tried to cover up and influence the boards that regulate cosmetics. They could have at least put a warning label on the box but they didn't. They did nothing," Evidence produced in the trial showed company officials were aware of research connecting ovarian cancer with talcum powder use since early research on the subject was released in the 1980s.
One internal company memo from 1997 equated a denial of the talcum powder-cancer connection to denying the link between smoking and lung cancer: "Anybody who denies this risks that the talc industry will be perceived by the public like it perceives the cigarette industry: denying the obvious in the face of all evidence to the contrary. This would be a particularly tragic misrepresentation in view of the fact that the industry does have powerful, valid arguments to support its position."
Failure to warn and negligence are just one aspect of this talcum powder lawsuit verdict. In addition, jurors found the international corporation guilty of conspiracy for its efforts to influence the opinion of consumers and regulators regarding talcum powder cancer. According to Jim Onder, principal at The Onder Law Firm and one of the lead attorneys in the case, said, "All their internal documents show that they knew talc caused ovarian cancer, and actively undertook to hide the truth, not only from the governmental regulators but from the public." Internal company documents revealed a public relations strategy involving statements from doctors sympathetic to the company's stance.
The family of Jacqueline Fox was represented by a team of litigators including The Onder Law Firm. This talcum powder cancer lawsuit verdict is being heralded as a precedent for 1,000 lawsuits pending against Johnson & Johnson in Missouri over talcum powder cancer claims.
More information on ovarian cancer from talcum powder can be found at The Onder Law Firm's Talcum Powder Ovarian Cancer website at www.talcumpowdercancerlawsuitcenter.com.