Los Angeles Jury Awards $40.3 Million to Woman Who Says Johnson & Johnson's Baby Powder Caused Her Mesothelioma
The number of women who are filing product liability lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson saying the company’s talcum powder products caused their ovarian cancer, has been increasing day by day. Currently, more than 4,800 women have filed individual lawsuits against J&J alleging a link between their ovarian cancer and genital use of the company’s popular Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products.
The Benefit of Individual Cases
A New York Times article states that in the case of these talcum powder cases thousands of women have chosen to take on J&J as opposed to banding together and filing a class action lawsuit. The Times says this is because class action status may be difficult to obtain given the various ways in which the product can be sold and used. Such cases often end up being individually litigated with the expectation of a mass payout.
Plaintiffs’ lawyers say this approach can be effective because each successful verdict sends a signal and gets the word out about the dangers of these products, which still don’t come with a warning to women who use them for feminine hygiene. In these talcum powder cases, going for a class action status ends up taking the personal stories out of the cases. It is important for the media to cover these cases and tell consumers these women’s stories and the dangers posed by talcum powder products.
Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer
Talcum powder contains talc, which is used in cosmetics because of its moisture absorbing ability. However, asbestos, a known carcinogen, appears in talc ores and can find its way into the powder. Plaintiffs in talc cases say J&J knew about talc’s link to ovarian cancer since the 1970s, but did nothing about it and didn’t warn consumers about the dangers. On the other hand, they continued to market these products to be used for feminine hygiene purposes. Many of the plaintiffs have testified during these trials saying they have been using these powders genitally for four decades or more.
So far, pretrial procedures in nearly 900 talc cases have been consolidated into a multidistrict litigation of MDL. In the most recent jury trial in California, a jury in Los Angeles Superior Court awarded plaintiff Eva Echeverria, 63, $417 million in her case against J&J. We hope women who have been affected by these dangerous products continue to get justice and their day in court. We also hope that these cases shed the light on the dangers posed by these products and force J&J to start warning consumers about the potential risks their talcum powder products pose.