Record $417 Million Verdict Against J&J in California Talc Case

Jane Akre
August 21, 2017

Mesh Medical Device News Desk, August 21, 2017 ~ Monday marks not just an eclipse but a major earth-shattering jury verdict delivering a $417 million loss to J&J in the first California talcum powder cancer case.

The majority of the award is punitive damages aimed at sending a message to J&J.

Monday morning, a California jury decided that Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder product was linked to a woman’c ovarian cancer and delivered the highest verdict yet in these trials - $417 million.

Of that, jurors slammed the healthcare giant with $347 million in punitive damages.

Plaintiff Eva Echeverria, 63, has end stage ovarian cancer she developed as a result of using Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower, according to her claim.

Hers was considered a bellwether case because it’s the first trial in California over the controversial Johnson & Johnson talcum powders after a series of losses in a St. Louis court totaling $300 million in damages.

Echeverria is a resident of California so the recent debate about venue did not apply to her. Meanwhile there are 300 other talc/cancer cases centralized in Los Angeles and more than 2,500 similar cases waiting for trial in St. Louis.

Courtroom View Network covered the trial gavel-to-gavel.

The plaintiffs' claim J&J had internal information that it did not share with the public about the use of talc in the genital area and its tendency to travel up the fallopian tubes to cause cancer. The powders never contained any warning for the public, she alleged. J&J denies the dangers.

Courtesy of CVN

The opening statement was delivered by Allen Smith of Smith Law Firm of Mississippi.

“This case is simple,” he told the dozen jurors during the opening July 26. “It’s about the defendant's corporate image over human life.”

The case is part of the consolidated Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Cases, case number JCCP4872, in the Superior Court of California for Los Angeles County.

At an April J&J Shareholders meeting in New Brunswick, New Jersey, one shareholder asked CEO Alex Gorsky if he had plans to get "meaner lawyers" to fight the repeated losses in these talcum powder trials.

Eva Echeverria, awarded $417 for her terminal cancer

The crowd laughed amid assurances that the lawyers hired could do the job.

ABC News has a story on the verdict here.

J&J has announced it will appeal.

Eva Echeverria did not appear in court because she is bed bound with terminal ovarian cancer. ###


Courtroom View Network covered the trial.

Mesh Medical Device News Desk, coverage of Talcum Powder/ Ovarian Cancer Issues

LA Times, July 8, 2017, Columnist on so-called Junk Science

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