Defense Verdict in Talcum Powder Lawsuit Ends Johnson & Johnson’s Losing Streak

Published on March 6, 2017 by Laurie Villanueva

Johnson & Johnson has been cleared of liability in the latest trial involving talcum powder and ovarian cancer. The verdict was the first win for Johnson & Johnson, which had already been assessed massive judgments in three earlier talcum powder trials.

The verdict came Friday in Missouri’s 22nd Circuit Court for St. Louis City, where more than 2,000 talcum powder lawsuits are undergoing consolidated proceedings. Jurors deliberated for about 7 hours before ruling in favor of Johnson & Johnson by a margin of 11-1. The case, which had been selected for trial by the defense, had been filed on behalf of a 56-year-old woman who had used Johnson’s Baby Powder on a daily basis for more than 30 years. Her complaint asserted that the regular and repeated use of the product for feminine hygiene purposes had contributed to the development of ovarian cancer.

This sole victory at trial in no way signals an end to Johnson & Johnson’s talc-related legal woes. The company still faces more than 3,000 ovarian cancer lawsuits nationwide that involve Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower. Missouri has two additional trials scheduled for April and June, and this latest verdict does not appear to have weakened the resolve of the remaining plaintiffs or their attorneys

“We continue to maintain that the association between genital talc usage and ovarian cancer remains an issue of public health and demands that consumers be warned of the specific risks,” a lawyer representing some of the talcum powder claimants said in a statement.

Upcoming Talcum Powder Trials

Last year, three Missouri juries ruled against Johnson & Johnson, ordering the company to pay nearly $200 million to talcum powder plaintiffs. The state’s first trial concluded last February, with $72 million in compensatory and punitive damages to the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer following three decades of genital talc use. A second case ended in May with a $55 million judgment against Johnson & Johnson, while the third resulted in a $70 million verdict for the plaintiff last October.

Missouri’s next trial will also involve a case selected by the defense. According to HarrisMartin.com, the plaintiff’s claims were advanced to trial due to her declining health. She suffers from Stage III(b) ovarian cancer, and has reportedly experienced recurrence and metastasis to her liver.

Centralized talcum powder litigations have also been established in the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, New Jersey’s Atlantic Superior Court and Los Angeles Superior Court in California. Last month, the judge overseeing the California litigation scheduled its first trial for July 3, 2017. That case was advanced after attorneys representing a woman with terminal ovarian cancer made a motion for trial preference, as she is not expected to live for more than six months.

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