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Appeals Court Upholds $2 Billion Verdict Against J&J in Talc Baby Powder Case

  • November 3, 2020
  • kbaattorneystg
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Baby powder Ovarian Cancer Jury Verdict in Missouri

As KBA has noted before, baby powder is a common household product used by millions of women around the world as a feminine hygiene product. What many people don’t know is that talc-based products are associated with increased risk of ovarian cancer and mesothelioma. Studies have connected talcum powder and ovarian cancer. One 2016 study2 reported a 44 percent increased risk for a type of ovarian cancer among African American women who used the powder on their genitals.

Johnson & Johnson recalled a batch of around 33,000 baby powder bottles after the FDA found traces of cancer-causing asbestos in the product. Lawsuits have been pending for years now. Some allege Johnson & Johnson pushed regulators to “redefine” asbestos within talcum powder.

Women diagnosed with ovarian cancer after years of using baby powder have won at trial for millions. These cases include product liability claims.

For example, a state court in New Jersey compensated victims $37.3 million after developing mesothelioma as a result of asbestos in Johnson & Johnson’s talc cosmetic products that the victims inadvertently inhaled. A Florida jury ordered J&J to “pay $9 million to an 82-year-old woman who blamed asbestos-tainted talc for her cancer.” Johnson and Johnson decided recently to remove the product from the market;  Johnson & Johnson Inc.. will no longer sell baby powder.  Recent decisions in New Jersey spell more bad news for Defendants.

In June, “[a] Missouri appeals court on Tuesday upheld a jury verdict that Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder caused ovarian cancer in 22 women, though the court reduced by more than half the $4.69 billion in damages J&J was ordered to pay.” The court reduced the verdict to $2.1 billion.

The $2.1 Billion Verdict Stands

Missouri’s highest court refused to review the case. Thus, the verdict stands. J&J will likely seek U.S. Supreme Court review, but for now, once again, the verdict stands.

Meanwhile, Plaintiffs in New Jersey State and Federal Court Push Forward

A recent favorable decision in New Jersey has given rise to continued new cases there. The appellate court held that “the experts’ opinions were indeed based on sound methodology applied to data upon which experts in their field may reasonably rely.” (Opin. at 6.) As a result, the case can proceed to trial. This is notable because now Johnson & Johnson face more trials on two fronts. This decision comes from New Jersey state court. There is also a consolidated action in federal court.

There is an MDL pending before the Honorable Freda L. Wolfson. The Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Litigation had great recent news as well. She found recently that the scientific evidence linking baby powder and cancer is sufficient to go to trial before a jury. J&J sought to exclude plaintiffs’ experts so they could not testify. This could have ended the litigation, but J&J lost.

KBA is Pursuing Talc Cases

This is another great day for Plaintiffs. No company can continue absorbing billion dollar verdicts. At some point, J&J is going to have to compensate the thousands of women with pending and future claims. We continue working on these women’s behalf with our partners.

Not everyone who uses baby powder will get cancer. People who have cancer and used baby powder did not necessarily get it because of the baby powder. Nonetheless, ovarian cancer has been linked to baby powder. Speaking with a doctor about any concerns is important. If you used baby powder and had ovarian cancer or cervical cancer, you can also consult with an attorney for free.

The attorneys at KBA have handled product liability suits for years. We have taken on talc cases from very early on and partner with many law firms leading the charge against J&J. We know what to look for and are here to help cancer survivors navigate the baby powder litigation labyrinth.