A West Virginia woman has filed a Baby Powder lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, following her mother’s death from ovarian cancer. The complaint accuses the healthcare products giant of deliberately ignoring research linking talc-based powders to the disease.
According to a November 22nd filing in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of West Virginia, Ann Christine Underwood used Johnson & Johnson talcum powder as part of her daily feminine hygiene routine from roughly 1965 until her death in March of this year.
“Ms. Underwood developed ovarian cancer and suffered effects attendant thereto, including her premature death, as a direct and proximate result of the unreasonably dangerous and defective nature of talcum powder, and defendants’ wrongful and negligent conduct in the research, development, testing, manufacture, production, promotion, distribution, marketing, and sale of talcum powder,” the complaint alleges. (1:16-cv-00225)
The lawsuit further asserts that Johnson & Johnson marketed its Baby Powder product for feminine hygiene, despite mounting research suggesting that the regular, repeated application of talc-based powders to the female genitals is associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer. The complaint seeks both compensatory and punitive damages on behalf of Underwood’s daughter and her estate.
Court records indicate that Johnson & Johnson is facing more than 2,000 similar talcum powder lawsuits in courts throughout the U.S. In October, all federal claims of this nature were centralized in the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, for the purpose of coordinated pretrial proceedings.
Three talcum powder cases have gone to trial this year in another consolidated litigation that is currently underway in Missouri state court in St. Louis. In October, a 62-year-old woman was awarded $70 million by the jury hearing her case. In May, another Missouri jury awarded $55 million to a woman who was diagnosed with ovarian and endometrial cancer in 2011, after having used Johnson & Johnson’s products for nearly 40 years. And in February, $72 million in compensatory and punitive damages were awarded to the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer following three decades of genital talc use. Jury selection in Missouri’s fourth trial is scheduled to get underway on January 30, 2017.
Centralized talcum powder litigations are also underway in a number of other state courts, including California and New Jersey.