A California court has scheduled an October 12th hearing to consider several post-trial motions filed by Johnson & Johnson in its bid to overturn the $417 million verdict awarded at the conclusion of the state’s first talcum powder lawsuit trial.
According to HarrisMartin.com, the company asserts that the verdict – the largest awarded so far in a case involving the alleged link between the company’s talcum powders and ovarian cancer – should be overturned on a number of grounds, including juror misconduct. Johnson & Johnson is asking the court to grant it a either a new trial or a judgment notwithstanding the verdict.
Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer
Johnson & Johnson has been named a defendant in more than 4,800 talcum powder lawsuits filed on behalf of women who allegedly developed ovarian cancer due to their long-term use of Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower talc-based powders for feminine hygiene purposes. The lawsuits point to studies dating back to the 1970s that suggest the regular application of talcum powder to the female genitals increases a woman’s risk for ovarian cancer.
Plaintiffs also cite internal company documents that indicate Johnson & Johnson officials were aware of this research, but chose not to warn consumers of the danger in order to protect talcum powder sales. The lawsuits also claim that Johnson & Johnson influenced regulators to prevent talc from being declared carcinogenic, despite the growing body of research linking talc to ovarian cancer.
Talcum Powder Trials and Verdicts
Roughly 300 talcum powder lawsuits have been centralized in Los Angeles Superior Court. The litigation concluded its first trial last month, with a jury awarding $417 million – including $347 million in punitive damages – to Eva Echeverria, who began using Johnson & Johnson talcum powders for feminine hygiene at the age of 11.
The 61-year-old woman now suffers from terminal ovarian cancer and was too ill to be present in court when the jury delivered its verdict. Her case was the first time a talcum powder plaintiff was able to present evidence showing that some of Johnson & Johnson’s competitors were now including ovarian cancer warnings on their talcum powder products.
Echeverria’s case was also the first heard outside of Missouri’s 22nd Circuit Court for the City of St. Louis, where one of the nation’s largest talcum powder litigations is currently underway. Missouri has already convened five trials, four of which were decided for plaintiffs. Those juries have ordered Johnson & Johnson and other defendants to pay damages ranging from $55 million to $110 million.
Talcum powder litigations involving Johnson & Johnson products are also underway in New Jersey and Delaware state courts, as well as New Jersey federal court.