There are currently about 5,000 lawsuits pending at the state and federal court level against Johnson & Johnson and its’ talc suppliers. Plaintiffs allege the company failed to warn consumers about the potential cancer risk from their talc-based products despite their awareness of scientific studies showing a link.
About Talc and Hygiene Products
Talc or talcum powder is a clay mineral composed of hydrated magnesium silicate that is similar to asbestos (also a known carcinogen). It was once one of the most widely used hygiene substances and was frequently used in commercial baby powder products.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people who work around talc face a greater likelihood of developing cancer. Studies that took place in the 1970s showed a link between long-term inhalation of talc can lead to lung cancer.
More recent studies have shown a link between talc-based product use and ovarian cancer. According to research, the powder can migrate from the vaginal area to the ovaries and put users at an increased risk for ovarian cancer.
Johnson & Johnson Aware of Risk to Consumers
According to the lawsuits filed against talcum powder manufacturer Johnson & Johnson, the company was aware its product posed a risk and failed to warn consumers.
At least one lawsuit cites internal documents from Johnson & Johnson that referred to the danger and discussed marketing practices that targeted Hispanic and African American women despite the risk. Plaintiffs claim the company should have placed a warning on their product’s label specifically addressing ovarian cancer.
Specific allegations against the company include:
- Violating consumers’ legal remedies
- Breach of implied warranty
- Violating the Unfair Competition Law
Johnson & Johnson claims there is no scientific proof of the link between its baby powder and Shower to Shower products and cancer, and argues claims against it are based on the flawed and outdated information.
To date, Johnson & Johnson has been forced to pay more than $700 million to plaintiffs as a result of jury verdicts.
Talcum Powder Lawsuit
Numerous talcum powder lawsuits have already been filed in state and federal courts. The first of these trials resulted in a federal jury determining the plaintiff’s cancer was linked to her use of Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products. She did not receive any damages because the jury did not believe the company was part of a conspiracy to hide the risks of its products and was therefore not liable. The plaintiff turned down a $1.3 million settlement from Johnson & Johnson because it required she sign a confidentiality agreement.
Since that 2013 verdict, two class-action lawsuits, in addition to hundreds of individual lawsuits were filed in state and federal courts. The majority of juries found in favor of the plaintiffs, with one 2017 bellwether trial ending in a $417 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson. That verdict was later overturned by a judge who ruled the plaintiff had not presented sufficient evidence that talcum powder had caused her ovarian cancer and ordered a new trial.
Other subsequent multi-million verdicts have also been overturned, but thousands of cases are still in progress at the state and federal levels. New Jersey alone has more than 1200 cases as part of a federal multidistrict litigation in progress related to talc and ovarian cancer.
If you or a loved one developed ovarian cancer or died from the disease after using talc-based products including hygiene powder, you might be eligible for compensation. Every case is different and you need to speak to an attorney about your circumstances.