After a trial that began on Sept. 26 and ended on Oct. 27, a jury in St. Louis ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $70 million to a California woman, who claims that the company's talc based products, which she used for feminine hygiene, caused her to develop ovarian cancer.
The verdict was the third large award in a row that Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay this year. In May, the same court awarded $55 million in damages to a South Dakota woman who underwent a hysterectomy due to ovarian cancer, allegedly caused by lifelong use of the product. In February, the family of an Alabama woman, who died of ovarian cancer, was awarded $72 million in damages. Two other cases heard in New Jersey were tossed out for lack of evidence. J & J plans to appeal all three of the St. Louis verdicts.
Deborah Giannecchini of Modesto Calif., the plaintiff in the latest suit, alleged her cancer was caused after years of using the product. The jurors in Missouri state court deliberated for only 3 hours following the month-long trial.
The earlier verdicts have generated renewed interest by attorneys and consumers, but scientists are claiming that the evidence of a real danger is inconclusive, according to Reuters. There are approximately 1200 cases pending by women accusing J&J of failing to adequately warn customers about its talc based products cancer risks.
"We are pleased the jury did the right thing," Jim Onder, an attorney for the plaintiff told the Associated Press. "They once again reaffirmed the need for Johnson & Johnson to warn the public of the ovarian cancer risk associated with its product."
Carol Goodrich, a spokeswoman from with Johnson and Johnson made the following statement: "We deeply sympathize with the women and families impacted by ovarian cancer. We will appeal today's verdict because we are guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnsons baby powder."
The ovarian cancer litigation, alleging the failure of Johnson & Johnson to warn consumers, is consolidated in Missouri and New Jersey Courts. There was only one other case to be tried regarding the ovarian cancer connection which resulted in a mixed verdict. Jurors in a South Dakota federal court decided in 2013 that J&J was negligent, but refused to award monetary damages to the plaintiff, who was in remission at that time.
Talc based Johnsons Baby Powder was first marketed by Johnson & Johnson in 1893. As early as 1982, it was alleged that J&J was made aware of the risks of ovarian cancer. Rather than issuing a warning to consumers, J&J moved forward with producing a talc product called Shower to Shower, which was marketed directly to women for use in feminine hygiene. The product has been used by millions of women and is still available today. Studies have shown that talc applied to the perineal area can migrate through the vagina to the uterus and fallopian tubes. Tumors removed from women who had ovarian cancer have revealed imbedded quantities of talc.
Any woman who has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and used any Johnson and Johnson talc products, such as Baby Powder or Shower to Shower, should contact a dangerous drug attorney as soon as possible. There could be significant compensation available for medical bills, pain and suffering as well as punitive damages.
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Vititoe Law Group is an experienced product liability law firm, seeking women who have developed ovarian cancer after prolonged use of talc products. If you or your loved one has suffered and you believe talc products are the cause, reach out to Vititoe Law for a confidential consultation with an attorney. There is no charge for an evaluation of your case. Do not hesitate as statutes of limitation apply.