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Johnson and Johnson Talcum Powder Lawsuit: Trial news and updates

• January 29, 2018

Lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder for allegedly Causing Mesothelioma Begins

January 29 marks the start of the second trial nationally to feature allegations that Johnson & Johnson talc-based products contain asbestos, which caused the plaintiff’s mesothelioma. The New Jersey-based trial comes on the heels of a California jury finding Johnson & Johnson not liable on similar claims last November. These early cases are of special importance because they will lay the foundation for later litigation in this area.

The Superior Court of New Jersey Middlesex County Division is set to hear the claims of 45-year-old Stephen Lanzo III, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2016 after what he claims were decades of everyday exposure to Johnson & Johnson talc-based powders, such as Johnson Baby Powder. Echoing assertions put forth by the plaintiff from the California case, Lanzo alleges that Johnson & Johnson talc-based products contain asbestos—which has been closely linked to mesothelioma—and that the company has been aware of this fact for years if not decades.

As TheLawFirm.com readers know, the asbestos-mesothelioma claims are not the only ones being brought against Johnson & Johnson over its talcum-powder-based products. The company recently has been ordered to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in damages after juries found that the use of Johnson & Johnson talc-based products was responsible for plantiffs’ ovarian cancer.

Unlike in the ovarian cancer cases, in which plaintiffs had to demonstrate a connection between the woman’s use of talc-based products and her ovarian cancer, the link between asbestos and mesothelioma has been firmly established for years. However, the vast majority of asbestos-mesothelioma litigation to date has involved workers who were exposed to much higher concentrations of asbestos for much longer durations of time than were the plaintiffs in the Johnson & Johnson cases, making the challenge for plaintiffs’ counsel proving to the jury that asbestos can cause mesothelioma even at the levels at which the plaintiffs’ in the talc-powder cases were exposed.

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• November 16, 2017

Plaintiff says Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder Caused Mesothelioma

On November 16, 2017, a jury in the Los Angeles Superior Court found against a plaintiff bringing a first-of-its-kind case seeking to establish that Johnson & Johnson talc-based products, including Johnson’s Baby Powder, contain asbestos, and that the asbestos contained in these products was the cause of the plaintiff’s mesothelioma. The plaintiff further alleged—based on internal company documents—that the pharmaceutical giant had known for decades that its talc-based products contained dangerous asbestos but had failed to act.

While Johnson & Johnson continues to face thousands of lawsuits across the country based on claims that its talc-based products have caused ovarian cancer in women, the southern California lawsuit was the first to base its case on the allegation that Johnson & Johnson for years knowingly sold to consumers products that contained asbestos, which has been closely linked with mesothelioma, a particularly deadly form of cancer. In a statement released after the jury’s verdict was announced, Johnson & Johnson applauded the outcome, while continuing to maintain that “[Johnson’s Baby Powder] does not contain asbestos or cause mesothelioma or ovarian cancer.”

Despite Johnson & Johnson’s assertions, the company continues to face a slew of lawsuits in venues across the country, mostly brought by female plaintiffs alleging that they were inadequately warned about the risk of developing ovarian cancer through their use of talc-related products. In four out of five trials conducted in the state of Missouri that involved women alleging their ovarian cancer was linked to Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based products, juries held Johnson & Johnson liable, and a jury in California found similarly, though one of the Missouri verdicts and the California verdict, which had awarded the now-deceased plaintiff $417 million, were thrown out on appeal.

Still, the overall trend is promising for those seeking to hold Johnson & Johnson to account. As Chris Panatier, attorney for the plaintiff in the Los Angeles mesothelioma case, told Reuters, “It is a matter of time before juries begin holding them [Johnson & Johnson] to account.”

Stay tuned to TheLawFirm.com for the latest updates on litigation involving the harms caused by Johnson & Johnson talc-based products. With over 5,000 lawsuits involving Johnson & Johnson talc-based products pending nationally, there are certain to be many new developments in this fast-changing area of litigation. If you believe you have suffered harm from the long-term use of Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder or other talc-based products, the expert attorneys at TheLawFirm.com are here to defend your rights and help you explore your legal alternatives.

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• October 26, 2017

Johnson & Johnson Gets Record-Setting $417 Million Talc Verdict Tossed

A judge in California has thrown out the $417 million jury award that had been granted to the plaintiff in a landmark talcum powder trial against Johnson & Johnson, finding that plaintiff Eva Echeverria relied on speculative expert testimony.

The judge ruled that Echeverria, who died soon after the trial ended in August in Los Angeles, failed to definitively link her terminal ovarian cancer to the talc in the Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products that she had used for decades for feminine hygiene. The judge also ruled that the punitive damages granted by the trial’s jury had not been warranted, as no malice was intended.

The testimony of witness Dr. Annie Yessaian was singled out as using “extremely limited,” speculative evidence in arguing for the plaintiff.

In a separate ruling, the judge granted Johnson & Johnson’s motion for a new trial. The effect of these twin rulings is that, even if the judge’s first decision is overturned by an appellate court, plaintiffs’ attorneys would likely have a difficult time reinstating the full $417 million verdict, and may instead have to retry the entire case.

The trial was the first to be heard in a group of six cases in a complex Multi-District Litigation (MDL) case against Johnson & Johnson, which plaintiffs accuse of knowingly making and marketing a carcinogenic product, and of failing to adequately warn consumers of the serious health risks of talcum powder products.

In the original trial, Echeverria was awarded $70 million in compensatory damages and $347 in punitive damages.

The recent ruling stands to complicate the already complex MDL case against Johnson & Johnson, which is ongoing in several states.

If you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and you believe your cancer was caused by habitual use of improperly labeled talcum powder products, you may very well have a case – despite this recent ruling. This trial is ongoing and most cases have yet to be heard. Contact the expert attorneys at TheLawFirm.com to learn how we can help you with your talcum powder case.

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• October 23, 2017
people in courtroom

JOHNSON & JOHNSON ALLEDGES JUROR MISCONDUCT

Johnson & Johnson, the maker of talcum powder products that a Los Angeles jury recently found to be responsible for the terminal ovarian cancer of a plaintiff in a high-profile lawsuit, has filed motions to have the landmark $417 million verdict in that case overturned. 

The company argued that some of the jurors in the trial, who voted 9-3 against Johnson & Johnson, engaged in “misconduct” in the deliberations room. Statements from two of the three jurors who sided against J&J have been included in the company’s motions. Johnson & Johnson argues that some of the jurors exhibited undue “passion and prejudice” in reaching their verdict, and that some jurors were inappropriately left out of final deliberations. 

Damages Awarded To Plaintiff

The jury in the case awarded $70 million in damages to the plaintiff, Eva Echeverria, whose terminal condition prevented her from appearing in person to testify at her trial. On top of the $70 million award, the jury found Johnson & Johnson liable for $347 million in punitive damages. Together, those sums amount to what is by far the largest verdict against the company in the talc trials that have take place so far. 

The company argues that the monetary sum of the damages is excessive. 

Echeverria alleged that she developed ovarian cancer as a result of the habitual use, over several decades, of talcum powder and baby powder as a feminine hygiene product. She further alleged that Johnson & Johnson, though aware of the dangers of talc, promoted its products as “safe and gentle.” 

• September 28, 2017

Victorious Plaintiff Refutes Johnson & Johnson’s Bid for New Talc Trial

Eva Echeverria, the plaintiff with ovarian cancer who recently won a landmark $417 million lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson over the allegedly carcinogenic nature of the company’s talcum powder products, fired back against J&J after the medical device giant pushed for a new trial.

Johnson & Johnson has claimed that members of the jury that handed down the verdict engaged in “misconduct,” but Echeverria asserted that the company lost the trial because it was guilty of negligent conduct, not because a number of jurors discussed their decision-making process in a way that the company did not find favorable.

Echeverria, whose cancer is terminal and who was unable to appear in court for her own trial, further insisted that Johnson & Johnson received a fair trial, and prevailed on almost every motion during the trial.

Of the award, $70 million went to Echeverria for compensatory damages, and the remaining $347 million was assessed for punitive damages. That sum alone exceeds the total of the damages that Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay in a series of trials in Missouri. The damages were awarded on the grounds that the links between prolonged exposure to talcum powder, when it is used as a feminine hygiene product, causes ovarian cancer.

Echeverria’s case was the first of six Los Angeles talc cases to be heard. The remaining five suits in the complex Multi-District Litigation (MDL) case are slated to being in the coming months. Thousands of other such suits have also been filed against Johnson & Johnson.

• September 14, 2017

TALC MDL UPDATE

A federal court in New Jersey has announced the appointment of retired U.S. District Judge Joel Pisano as special master overseeing the state’s Multi-District Litigation (MDL) case in which several plaintiffs allege that Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder and baby powder products have caused ovarian and uterine cancer. 

The suits in the case, which were consolidated by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation (JPMDL) in October 2016, concern allegations not just that the talc in the named products may cause cancer, but that Johnson & Johnson manufactured, marketed, and distributed the products with full awareness of their potential health hazards. 

Pisano was appointed a U.S. Magistrate Judge in New Jersey in 1991, was appointed U.S. District Judge by President Bill Clinton in 2000, and retired in 2015. He currently works in private practice. Pisano’s judicial experience includes, among many other cases, the oversight of a MDL case over Merck’s osteoporosis drug Fosamax. 

• August 29, 2017
spilled baby powder

JOHNSON & JOHNSON SAYS TALC SAMPLES ARE LIMITED

Lawyers for Johnson & Johnson, the giant medial products company that is currently embroiled in a Multi-District Litigation (MDL) case over the allegedly carcinogenic nature of its talcum powder and baby powder products, have informed the judge overseeing the sprawling case that “historical” samples of the talc used in its products will soon run out if plaintiffs continue to request them for analysis. 

The declaration comes on the heels of a dozen upcoming requests for the samples from women who, as plaintiffs in the MDL, have stated that they are entitled to submit the samples to analysis to determine the allegedly carcinogenic nature of the talc in them. 

The plaintiffs have not yet formally requested the samples, but have indicated that they will do so soon. 

JJ& insists that it is not trying to deny plaintiffs access to the samples, but is instead asking the court to determine a fair method for their distribution, in light of their limited quantities. 

Plaintiffs have responded by saying that there is no reason why the samples would be destroyed in the testing process. 

Johnson & Johnson Lawsuit Fact

About 2000 suits in the MDL accuse Johnson & Johnson of knowingly manufacturing, marketing, and selling a dangerous product. Numerous clinical studies have linked the longtime application of talc as a feminine hygiene product to ovarian cancer. 
 

The company has recently lost four of five talc lawsuits in Missouri; in those, it was ordered to pay out more than $300 million in damages. More recently, Johnson & Johnson lost a record-setting case in California, in which it was ordered to pay $417 million in compensatory and punitive damages. 

• August 28, 2017

WOMEN IN JOHNSON & JOHNSON TALC CASE REQUEST SAMPLES

A group of New Jersey women involved in a Multi-District Litigation (MDL) case have requested samples of the talcum powder products over which they have filed their suits. 

In the hotly contested case, Johnson & Johnson, the maker of the talcum powder and baby powder that are at the heart of the lawsuit, has said that any samples of the product would necessarily be destroyed during the process that tests them for carcinogenic content. The plaintiffs allege that J&J has no proof that the samples will be destroyed in testing. 

Plaintiffs say that Johnson & Johnson has failed to explain any knowledge of the testing procedure, and that the company alleges that the plaintiffs have “conspired” with state courts to deny J&J the ability to test the products themselves. 

Indeed, the plaintiffs have not yet even formally requested any samples, which, should they be provided, the plaintiffs assert, would not be destroyed entirely in testing. 

Some 2000 cases are pending in the wide-ranging, closely watched MDL, in which the central allegation is that Johnson & Johnson’s talc-containing products are the cause of the plaintiffs’ cases of ovarian cancer. 

Johnson & Johnson has lost four or five talc trials in Missouri, and recently lost a $417 million decision in California over the talc-cancer link. 

• August 16, 2017

JURY TOLD OF DIRECT LINK BETWEEN TALC AND CANCER

The doctor who treated a plaintiff who is suing Johnson & Johnson over the alleged links between ovarian cancer and the talcum powder in the company’s products has testified that the talc caused the cancer, period. 

Dr. Annie Yessaian, oncologist and University of Southern California gynecology assistant professor and the doctor who treated plaintiff Eva Echeverria, further asserted that any studies that deny a link between talc and ovarian cancer are flawed. She said that such studies were scientifically irresponsible, especially in the ways in which they gathered their data. 

Dr. Yessaian testified that had Echeverria not used talcum powder and baby powder for decades as a feminine hygiene product, she would not have contracted ovarian cancer. 

Echeverria’s trial, currently underway in Los Angeles, is the first of six California talc trials. Echeverria is dying of ovarian cancer. 

Of five recent talc trials in St. Louis, J&J lost four, and has been ordered to pay out more than $300 million. 

The trial is expected to conclude at the end of the third week of August. 

• August 15, 2017

JURY IN TALC TRIAL HEARS THAT TALC DID NOT CAUSE WOMAN’S CANCER

Dr. Juan Felix, former director of pathology at the University of Southern California’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital, testified that talc particles would inflame internal tissue but would not cause cancer, and that Echeverria’s tissue was not inflamed. 

Members of the jury have heard several arguments to the contrary, as well, including that of a former Harvard University pathologist who asserted that Echeverria’s decades of using talc products for feminine hygiene had indeed sent talc particle to her ovaries, where they caused inflammation that led to cancer. 

Echeverria, along with six other women, filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson for marketing its talc products as “safe” and for causing their cases of ovarian cancer. 

Of five recent talc trials in St. Louis, Johnson & Johnson lost four, and has been ordered to pay out more than $300 million. 

Echeverria’s cancer is terminal, and she testified via video. The trial is scheduled to conclude by mid-August. 

• August 11, 2017

PLAINTIFF SURPRISED BY TALC CANCER DIAGNOSIS

Eva Echeverria, the lead plaintiff in a closely watched trial concerning the potentially carcinogenic nature of Johnson & Johnson’s talc-containing products, testified that, because she had never seen a warning label on Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder or Shower to Shower products, she was surprised to have been diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer. 

Echeverria, who in January was given six months to live, testified via video. She stated that she used Johnson’s Baby Powder as a feminine hygiene product for more than five decades, and would never have done so had she known it had the potential to cause ovarian cancer. Echeverria even continued to use the product after her 2007 cancer diagnosis because nothing suggested that the product and her cancer were in any way linked. She only ceased the use of the product after learning of the alleged talc-cancer in 2016. 

Echeverria testified that she suffers from pain in her liver and kidneys, sleeplessness, extreme fatigue, nausea, and headaches. 

Of the five recent trials in Missouri over the alleged links between talcum powder products and ovarian cancer, Johnson & Johnson lost four, and has been ordered to pay out more than $300 million. 

The company maintains that its talc products are safe. 

• August 7, 2017

JURY IN BABY POWDER TRIAL TOLD THAT WOMAN’S OVARIES CONTAINED TALC

John Godleski, who recently retired from Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, provided expert testimony on behalf of plaintiff Eva Echeverria to the effect that he found significant amounts of talc in tissue samples from Echeverria’s ovaries. 

Godleski stressed that the number of talc particles that he found (11) is likely to be indicative of a greater number of particles in the totality of the ovarian tissue, and that the talc was “unlikely” to have been introduced into Echeverria’s body any way other than vaginally. 

Echeverria, along with six other women, has filed a closely watched lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson; Echeverria’s is the first to go to trial, in large part because she is dying of ovarian cancer. The suit concerns the potential health hazards of the talc contained in J&J’s baby powder and talcum powder products, which the company has promoted for decades as safe for daily use as feminine hygiene products. 

In five recent talc trials in the state of Missouri, Johnson & Johnson has a 1-4 won/lost record, and has been ordered to pay out over $300 million. 

The trial continues in Los Angeles. 

• August 7, 2017

TALC LINKED TO OVARIAN CANCER IN CALIFORNIA TRIAL

An expert in epidemiology has testified in a California court that women who routinely use talcum powder products have higher-than-usual rates of ovarian cancer. 

Jack Siemiatycki, of the University of Montreal and McGill University, testified that, in his studies of the links between talc and ovarian cancer, he has found that talc is likely to cause cancer. 

Siemiatycki spoke on behalf of Eva Echeverria, the lead plaintiff in a complex Multi-District Litigation (MDL) case against Johnson and Johnson over the alleged links between ovarian cancer and the talc contained in the company’s baby powder and talcum powder products. Echeverria’s ovarian cancer is terminal. 

Echeverria’s suit is one of seven that will be heard in the California courts. J&J lost three of four Missouri trials, and has been ordered to pay more than $300 million in damages. The company continues to stand its ground that its talc-containing products are safe. 

The closely watched trial is currently proceeding in Los Angeles. 

• July 31, 2017

EXPERT TESTIFIES IN JOHNSON & JOHNSON TRIAL THAT TALC IS TOXIC

Laura Plunkett, a toxicologist and pharmacologist who testified in several of the Johnson & Johnson talc trials in Missouri, took the stand in the ongoing talc trial in California to assert that talc is toxic and carcinogenic. 

The closely watched trial is the result of a lawsuit by Eva Echeverria, who alleges that her terminal case of ovarian cancer was caused by her prolonged use of talcum powder as a feminine hygiene product, a usage that the product’s manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson, has long promoted as “safe.” 

Plunkett testified that talc can migrate through the vagina to the ovaries, where it can cause chronic inflammation that can lead to cancer. She further argued that ovarian cancer cases are most common when a small amount of talc is introduced on a regular basis over an extended period of time. 

Many hundreds of cases in the Multi-District Litigation (MDL) case are pending; Echeverria’s is being heard first because her doctors have given her only months to live. Central to her allegations is that J&J knew of the dangers of talc but concealed them from the public. 

Johnson & Johnson lost several talc trials in Missouri; the company has been ordered to pay verdicts amounting to more than $300 million. 

• July 27, 2017

JURY TOLD THAT JOHNSON & JOHNSON CONCEALED TALC RISKS TO PROTECT ITS IMAGE

In the opening statements in the highly anticipated California trial over Johnson & Johnson’s liability in manufacturing, marketing, and selling allegedly carcinogenic talc-based products, jury members heard the lawyer for plaintiff Eva Echeverria argue that the company deliberately concealed the dangers of talcum powder in order to protect its “safe and gentle” image. 

Central to the arguments was that J&J was criminally negligent in failing to include a warning label on its talcum powder and baby powder products that stated that the talc in them had been linked to cases of ovarian cancer. 

Numerous clinical studies, plaintiff’s counsel Allen Smith stated, have demonstrated the clear links between the prolonged use of talcum powder as a feminine hygiene product and an increased risk of ovarian cancer. 

Echeverria has been diagnosed with a terminal case of ovarian cancer, and for that reason her case has been given priority in a series of cases in a Multi-District Lawsuit (MDL) about the cancer risks of talcum powder. Five other trials will take place after Echeverria’s. 

In a string of courtroom losses in Missouri, Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay out over $300 million to women whose ovarian cancer, courts found, had been caused at least in part by the repeated use of talcum powder products. 

The closely watched trial is expected to continue for some weeks. 

• July 21, 2017
lawyer and jury

JURORS WON’T HEAR OF ALLEGED JOHNSON & JOHNSON CONSPIRACY IN TALC TRIAL

A judge refused to allow the plaintiff in the upcoming trial about the alleged health hazards posed Johnson & Johnson’s talc products to state in opening arguments that the company “conspired” to prevent warning labels from being affixed to its baby powder and talcum powder products. 

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Maren Nelson stated that plaintiff Eva Echeverria, who alleges that her terminal ovarian cancer has been caused by prolonged use of Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based products for feminine hygiene, lacked sufficient evidence to make the claims that J & J conspired with its talc supplier, Imerys Talc America, to persuade the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) not to regulate those products. 

Judge Nelson last week dismissed Echeverria’s suit against Imerys, stating that talc is an “inherently safe” product. 

Echeverria’s case against Johnson & Johnson is the first in a series of upcoming talc cases to be heard in a California court. Echeverria has been given by her doctors only months to live, so her trial was scheduled to take place first. 

Of five recent talc trials in Missouri, Johnson & Johnson lost four of them, and has been ordered by juries to pay out more than $300 million in damages. 

Jury selection for Echeverria’s trial is slated to commence on July 21. 

• July 18, 2017

JUDGE TOSSES JOHNSON & JOHNSON TALC SUIT IN NEW JERSEY

A federal judge in New Jersey has tossed a proposed class action suit against Johnson & Johnson over the potential links between ovarian cancer and its talc-based products. 

Judge Freda Wolfson tossed the case because Mona Estrada, who had filed it, had not proven that she had suffered or will suffer any injuries from using Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products. 

Judge Wolfson also ruled that Estrada had not proven that Johnson & Johnson was legally obligated to disclose the risks associated with its talcum powder and/or baby powder products; to this, Estrada replied that she had been purchasing and using the products for feminine hygiene for some 65 years, since well before the time that such warnings would have been disclosed. 

Johnson & Johnson has lost four or five talc lawsuits in the state of Missouri, and is currently enmeshed in another talc trial in California. So far, the company has had to pay out more than $300 million in settlements. 

Estrada has been given 30 days to amend her complaint. 

• July 17, 2017

JUDGE RULES ON PARTICIPATION OF EXPERT WITNESS IN TALC TRIAL

A federal judge in Los Angeles has ruled that defendant Johnson & Johnson cannot prevent an expert witness from testifying on behalf of a plaintiff in a closely watched trail about the links between the company’s talc-based products and ovarian cancer. 

Judge Maren Nelson ruled that gynecologist Annie Yessaian may testify on behalf of Eva Echeverria, so long as Dr. Yessaian confirms that her opinions on the links between talc and ovarian cancer has remained unchanged since a recent court proceeding. Judge Nelson had previously prevented another plaintiff’s witness, Harvard epidemiologist Daniel Cramer, from testifying on behalf of Echeverria because he admitted that his opinion was based on studies that used an unreliable methodology. 

Legal experts are watching Echeverria’s trial closely, as it is a bellwether trial that stands to establish a legal precedent in cases concerning the potential cancer risks of products that Johnson & Johnson has long promoted as “safe” and “harmless.” 

Echeverria is dying of ovarian cancer, and has been given several months to live. For this reason, her trial is the first is an upcoming series of talc trials to be heard. Five other suits are pending. 

Echeverria’s trial in California follows five talc-cancer trials in Missouri. Johnson & Johnson won one of those trials but lost the other four, and was ordered by the courts to pay settlements of more than $300 million. 

• July 17, 2017

Judge Grants Talc Supplier a Pass in Johnson & Johnson Ovarian Cancer Trial

In a reversal from a previous tentative ruling, a California judge dismissed talc supplier Imerys from an upcoming trial concerning the ovarian cancer risks surrounding Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based feminine hygiene products.

Judge Maren Nelson opined that Imerys could not be sued for supplying Johnson & Johnson with an “inherently safe” product. That opinion is a reversal of Nelson’s earlier, tentative ruling that indicated Imerys would be required to stand trial for at least some of the charges leveled against it.

Attorneys for plaintiff Eva Echeverria, who alleges her terminal ovarian cancer has been caused by her prolonged use of Johnson & Johnson’s purportedly “safe” talcum powder products, urged the judge to reconsider. Yet Nelson held that, even if Imerys was aware of a cancer risk if talc is used for a prolonged time on the female genitals, the ingredient itself is, for general purposes, safe.

Echeverria’s trial is due to start within the week, in part because her terminal cancer means that she will not be able to testify if the trial is pushed back. Echeverria has been given six months to live.

In a related ruling, Judge Nelson denied a motion by Johnson & Johnson to keep Echeverria’s expert witnesses from testifying.

Johnson & Johnson has lost several high-profile cases in the state of Missouri, for which the pharmaceutical giant has been ordered to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. The upcoming trial in California is a high-stakes event for the company, whose talcum powder and baby powder products have come under fire recently for their alleged links to ovarian cancer.

If you have ovarian cancer, and you have used talcum powder or baby powder for an extended period of time, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation. Contact TheLawFirm.com to learn how to join the case against Johnson & Johnson.

• July 6, 2017

JUDGE RULES THAT TALC SUPPLIER MUST STAND TRIAL

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has tentatively ruled that Imerys Talc, a major miner and supplier of the talc used in Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder and baby powder products, must stand trial in an upcoming case concerning allegations that talc can cause ovarian cancer. The ruling stated that Imerys had reason to know that talc could cause cancer. 

The plaintiff in the case is Eva Echeverria, who alleges that her prolonged use of Johnson & Johnson talc-based products as part of a feminine hygiene regimen was responsible for the terminal case of ovarian cancer from which she now suffers. Echeverria has been given six months to live. 

The ruling stated that, because talc had been listed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a potential carcinogen, Imerys Talc was or should have been aware of talc’s potential hazards, and must therefore participate in the highly anticipated upcoming trial. 

Johnson & Johnson has lost several large verdicts in talc trials in the state of Missouri. The upcoming trial in California stands to be one that sets a legal precedent. Talc cases are currently working their way through the courts in other states, as well. 

Lawsuit Verdicts and settlements

courtroom jury box

JOHNSON & JOHNSON GETS RECORD-SETTING $417 MILLION TALC VERDICT TOSSED

October 26, 2017
A judge in California has thrown out the $417 million jury award that had been granted to the plaintiff in a landmark talcum powder trial against Johnson & Johnson, finding that plaintiff Eva Echeverria relied on speculative expert testimony. 

The judge ruled that Echeverria, who died soon after the trial ended in August in Los Angeles, failed to definitively link her terminal ovarian cancer to the talc in the Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products that she had used for decades for feminine hygiene. The judge also ruled that the punitive damages granted by the trial’s jury had not been warranted, as no malice was intended. 

The testimony of witness Dr. Annie Yessaian was singled out as using “extremely limited,” speculative evidence in arguing for the plaintiff. 

In a separate ruling, the judge granted Johnson & Johnson’s motion for a new trial. The effect of these twin rulings is that, even if the judge’s first decision is overturned by an appellate court, plaintiffs’ attorneys would likely have a difficult time reinstating the full $417 million verdict, and may instead have to retry the entire case. 

The trial was the first to be heard in a group of six cases in a complex Multi-District Litigation (MDL) case against Johnson & Johnson, which plaintiffs accuse of knowingly making and marketing a carcinogenic product, and of failing to adequately warn consumers of the serious health risks of talcum powder products. 

In the original trial, Echeverria was awarded $70 million in compensatory damages and $347 in punitive damages. 

The recent ruling stands to complicate the already complex MDL case against Johnson & Johnson, which is ongoing in several states.

johnson & johnson logo

JOHNSON & JOHNSON FOUND GUILTY IN TALC CASE, ORDERED TO PAY RECORD $417 MILLION

August 21, 2017
After two days of deliberations, the jury in a closely watched California trial over the allegedly carcinogenic nature of Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products has returned with a stunning verdict: the corporation must pay $417 million for its role in causing a woman’s terminal cancer. 

The jury found that Johnson & Johnson had failed to warn consumers about the risk of ovarian cancer connected with its Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower talc products, and that the terminal ovarian cancer of plaintiff Eva Echeverria was caused by her prolonged use of those products. 

The $417 million penalty – $70 million to Echeverria in compensatory damages; $347 million in punitive damages – sets a new high-water mark for talc lawsuits. The company had lost four of five recent trials in St. Louis; the sum of the damages awarded in those five cases was about $300 million. 

Five more talcum powder lawsuits are pending against Johnson & Johnson in the California courts. 

The corporation’s defense strategy focused largely on discrediting the expert witnesses who testified for the plaintiffs, but it was not sufficient to persuade the jury of Johnson & Johnson’s innocence. 

Echeverria’s victory is tempered by the fact that she is dying of ovarian cancer, and has been given only months to live by her doctors. 

johnson & johnson logo

JOHNSON & JOHNSON LOSES FIFTH TALCUM POWDER TRIAL

June 8, 2017
A St. Louis courtroom was the setting for Johnson & Johnson’s fifth major loss in its ongoing series of trials concerning its talcum powder products. The pharmaceutical giant was found guilty of negligence, and has been ordered to pay a Virginia woman more than $110 million in compensatory and punitive damages. 

The jury found that Lois Slemp, 62, had developed ovarian cancer at least in part because of her prolonged use of talcum powder products that Johnson & Johnson had marketed and promoted as safe. Slemp is currently undergoing her second round of chemotherapy treatment for her cancer. 

The loss is the fifth in six talcum-powder cases for Johnson & Johnson. In previous decisions, the company has been ordered to pay multiple awards in the tens of millions of dollars. 

This most recent trial stands out for the two-pronged nature of the plaintiff’s cancer. Slemp’s reproductive organs were found to contain not only talc particles, but asbestos, another substance that can cause cancer. Some talc products are known to be contaminated with this dangerous material. 

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