This is the second verdict this year against Johnson & Johnson over its talcum powder. On Monday, a jury in Missouri awarded a woman who claims the use of talc by the company caused ovarian cancer $55 million.
Of that $50 million is in punitive damages. In February another St. Louis, Missouri jury awarded a different plaintiff $75 million over her ovarian cancer that led to her death. Of that, $62 million was punitive damages.
The case was tried by the same law firm, Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles of Montgomery, Alabama. These are the first talcum powder cases to go to trial. There are more than 1,000 plaintiffs who have filed similar cases.
J&J plans an appeal.
The plaintiff, Gloria Ristesund of South Dakota, used Johnson’s baby powder for nearly 40 years. She was diagnosed with cancer five years ago. She had a hysterectomy and talc was found in her ovarian tissues. Her cancer is in remission.
Interestingly, Bloomberg reports her trial was a “defense pick,” meaning J&J felt the facts in this trial were on its side. Christy Jones, (Butler Snow) defended J&J. She has been lead defense counsel in several pelvic mesh trials.
Christy Jones, Feb 2013
Shower-to-Shower powder, also made by J&J, is also used by women and advertised as a feminine hygiene product.
Johnson & Johnson says it does not need to warn of the health concerns because there are none.
“Unfortunately, the jury’s decision goes against 30 years of studies by medical experts around the word [sic] that continue to support the safety of cosmetic talk,” said a spokesperson. A juror told Bloomberg they felt as though the company knew for decades the product should have contained a warning but did not.
The first talc trial in South Dakota three years ago concluded with a jury verdict finding J&J was negligent but failed to award damages. Another talc trial is scheduled in St. Louis in September.
The problem with talc is it can be contaminated with asbestos fibers. Talc is mined from the soil and can contain magnesium, silicon, oxygen and hydrogen, used to absorb moisture. The American Cancer Society says some talc may contain asbestos.
Johnson & Johnson and its Ethicon division are facing more than 40,000 pelvic mesh trials, many to be heard this year. #
Bloomberg, J&J Faces 1,000 more Talc Cancer Suits here