A Los Angeles jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $417 million to 62-year-old Eva Echeverria, who said her ovarian cancer was caused by the company’s talcum powder products. According to a Bloomberg news report, this was the first California trial over the link between talc and ovarian cancer.
Brian Chase, senior partner at Bisnar Chase, lauded the legal team on its accomplishment. Chase is on the Plaintiff’s Steering Committee for Los Angeles Judicial Council Coordinated Proceedings (JCCP) on talc cases.
“We congratulate Mark Robinson, Allen Smith and the entire trial team on this significant victory,” he said. “More importantly, this was a great result for Echeverria and her family. This was a woman who is suffering from life-threatening ovarian cancer because of J&J’s wrongful conduct and their choice to put profits over the safety and well being of unsuspecting consumers.”
Failing to Warn Consumers
The jury found J&J liable for failing to warn the woman over the alleged risk posed by the baby powder. The verdict also includes $347 million in punitive damages. J&J faces 5,500 claims in courts nationwide and has lost four previous jury verdicts totaling $300 million – all of them in St. Louis.
The Los Angeles trial marked the first one before a state jury outside of Missouri. J&J is appealing all the prior verdicts and has said it will appeal this one too. A spokeswoman for the company maintained that there is no scientific evidence to show that Johnson’s Baby Powder is dangerous. The company is also preparing for additional trials in the U.S. and will continue to stand by their products, she said.
Echeverria’s lawsuit and others, however, accuse the world’s largest healthcare company of blatantly ignoring studies as far back as the 1980s, which linked its talcum powder products to ovarian cancer when used for feminine hygiene purposes. The lawsuits also accuse the company of failing to warn its consumers about this serious, life-threatening risk.
Mark Robinson, one of Echeverria’s lawyers, has urged the company to start warning women immediately about the risks of talcum powder. His client said she had been using J&J talcum powder products since she was 11 years old. This $417 million jury award is the third largest in the U.S. so far this year.