$55M Talcum Powder Verdict Upheld

A trial court has upheld a $55 million verdict issued to a talcum powder plaintiff this May. The plaintiff in the case had alleged that regular use of talcum powder for feminine hygiene contributed to her ovarian cancer. She further alleged that J&J has been aware of this risk, but failed to warn the public. The verdict was the second awarded this year to a talcum powder plaintiff. In the first, the jury awarded $72 million to the family of a woman who died of ovarian cancer.

Court documents indicate that J&J faces over 1,000 similar lawsuits over its talcum powder products. Plaintiffs in these cases generally allege that the fine talc particles can travel up the female reproductive tract and reach the ovaries, where they can allegedly build up over time and cause the type of inflammation that promotes cancer growth. J&J is accused of failing to disclose this information to the public.

The Missouri 22nd Judicial Circuit Court for St. Louis City has denied all of J&J’s post-trial motions, including a motion that sought a judgment notwithstanding the verdict, according to a Sept. 9th order. J&J filed a notice of appeal on Sept. 16th.

The plaintiff in the case was a 62-year-old woman who used Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder for feminine hygiene for decades. In 2011, she was diagnosed with ovarian and endometrial cancer. On May 2nd, a verdict in her favor was announced. The jury awarded $5 million in compensatory damages and $50 million in punitive damages.

Talcum powder lawsuits have been centralized in Missouri as well as Atlantic County Superior Court in New Jersey. Plaintiffs filing federal lawsuits have asked the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to establish a multidistrict litigation (MDL). An MDL consolidates lawsuits with similar allegations to one court before one judge; this helps eliminate duplicate discovery and makes legal proceedings more efficient.

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