California Women File Baby Powder Lawsuits Alleging Johnson & Johnson Hid Ovarian Cancer Risk

Published on November 30, 2017 by Sandy Liebhard

Two California women are the latest to accuse Johnson & Johnson of concealing the alleged link between its popular Baby Powder product and ovarian cancer.

Lynda M. McMath and Carrie Simmons filed their Baby Powder lawsuits late last month in Shasta County Superior Court. According to the Record-Searchlight, both complaints cite numerous studies that suggest the regular and repeated application of talc-based powders to the female genitals increases a woman’s risk for ovarian cancer.

The plaintiffs further charge that Johnson & Johnson was aware of this scientific evidence, but purposely chose not to warn the public out of a desire to protect the profits derived from sales of Baby Powder.

The lawsuits also assert that cornstarch is a safer alternative to talc, and note that Johnson & Johnson sells talcum powder made with cornstarch.

Imerys Talc America Inc., which mines, processes and sells the talc used in Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder, is also named as a defendant in both lawsuits.

Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Litigation

Johnson & Johnson is facing more than 5,500 similar talcum powder lawsuits, all of which were filed on behalf of women who allegedly developed ovarian cancer due to the long-term use of Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower for feminine hygiene purposes.

Since early 2015, plaintiffs in several high-profile talcum powder trials have been awarded multi-million-dollar judgments ranging from $55 million to $417 million. However, the $417 million verdict in another California case was recently overturned because of accusations involving juror misconduct and other issues.

A $72 million verdict awarded to an out-of-state plaintiff in Missouri’s talcum powder litigation was also dismissed recently, due to the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Bristol-Myers Squibb v. Superior Court of California.  That decision set new standards which require that suits be filed in jurisdictions where defendants are headquartered or where a plaintiff’s injuries are alleged to have occurred.

Talcum Powder and Mesothelioma

Court documents also indicate that Colgate-Palmolive has been named a defendant in around 170 talcum powder lawsuits alleging its Cashmere Bouquet product was tainted with asbestos, causing some people to develop mesothelioma.

Earlier this month, the company reached a settlement with a Pennsylvania woman who said she developed the often-deadly form of cancer after using Cashmere Bouquet for more than 20 years. The confidential agreement allowed Colgate-Palmolive to avoid a trial in New Jersey Superior Court.

In a recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the company disclosed that it had resolved 43 similar cases so far this year

In 2015, a California jury ordered the company to pay $13 million to the plaintiff in another mesothelioma case involving Cashmere Bouquet.

Another California jury recently found for Johnson & Johnson in a mesothelioma lawsuit involving its talcum powder products.

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