The litigation involving Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based products is expected to heat up over the coming year. According to Harris Martin, the next 12 months could see several jury trials convened over the alleged link between the company’s talcum powders and ovarian cancer.
Court documents indicate that Johnson & Johnson currently faces more than 1,200 talcum powder lawsuit filings in courts around the country. Plaintiffs charge that regular, repeated application of talc-based products to the genitals increases the risk that a woman will develop ovarian cancer. They further assert that the company knew as early as 1971 that there was a link between talc and the potentially deadly form of cancer, but concealed that information from the public.
On February 16th, a notice issued in Washington, D.C. Superior Court indicated that a complaint filed on behalf of Lori Oules will go to trial in April 2017. Court records show that Oules filed her suit in December 2014, alleging that her regular use of talc-containing products was the direct and proximate cause of her ovarian cancer. The complaint maintains that Oules continuously used Baby Powder , Shower-to-Shower and other talc-based powders from 1992 to 2002 for the purpose of feminine hygiene. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in January 2013.
According to Harris Martin, similar talcum powder lawsuits are expected to go to trial over the next 12 months in New Jersey and Missouri.
In February a St. Louis, Missouri jury awarded $72 million to the family of a woman who blamed Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powders for their mother’s ovarian cancer diagnosis and death. The verdict marked the first time that a jury ordered the company to pay financial damages in such a case. Court records indicate that the decedent had regularly used Johnson & Johnson talc products for over 30 years as part of her feminine hygiene routine. She died this past fall, just 2 ½ years after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
In October 2013, a South Dakota federal jury also found that Johnson & Johnson had failed to provide consumers with adequate warnings about the risk of ovarian cancer from talcum powder. However, the plaintiff in that case was not awarded any financial compensation.