Imery’s Talc has been dismissed from a California talcum powder lawsuit, after the judge overseeing the case ruled the supplier can’t be liable for supplying an “inherently safe” ingredient.
Plaintiff Eva Echeverria alleges that her ovarian cancer was caused by Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products. Imery’s supplied talc used in the company’s Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower products, which were a regular part of Echeverria’s daily feminine hygiene routine in the decades prior to her diagnosis
On July 5th, the judge presiding over the California talcum powder lawsuit issued a tentative ruling indicating that she would allow some of Echeverria’s claims against Imery’s to stand. However, she reversed the tentative decision on July 10th.
“You can eat it, you can put it on your skin, it may be dangerous in one particular use, I emphasize the word may be, but it may be. And I don’t dispute for one minute what you say, that Imery’s was aware that it might be dangerous,” the judge said, according to law360.com. “But the product that was delivered to Johnson & Johnson was processed to Johnson & Johnson’s standards only, it was substantially changed by Johnson & Johnson, it was substantially changed from what comes out of the ground as talc, there’s no dispute about that.”
Echeverria’s lawsuit will continue to move forward, as the July 10th ruling has no bearing on claims asserted against Johnson & Johnson. In fact, the case is scheduled to go to trial today in Los Angeles Superior Court, the first in California’s talcum powder ovarian cancer litigation.
Johnson & Johnson has been named a defendant in more than 3,000 talcum powder lawsuits, all of which were filed on behalf of women who allegedly developed ovarian cancer due to long-term use of Shower-to-Shower and Baby Powder for feminine hygiene purposes. Plaintiffs claim that Johnson & Johnson has long been aware of research suggesting that the frequent application of talc-based powders to the female genitals could contribute to the development of the often-deadly disease. They further allege that Johnson & Johnson placed profits over safety by failing to provide consumers with appropriate warnings regarding this potential risk.
In addition to California, Johnson & Johnson talcum powder litigations are also underway in Missouri’s 22nd Circuit Court in St. Louis, New Jersey’s Atlantic County Superior Court, and the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey.
The Missouri litigation – the largest in the nation – has already concluded five trials. Johnson & Johnson has prevailed in just one of those cases. Plaintiffs in four other talcum powder lawsuits have been awarded compensatory and punitive damages ranging from $55 million to $110 million.