A new class action lawsuit is accusing Johnson & Johnson of neglecting to warn consumers of the alleged link between its popular talcum powder products and ovarian cancer.
The complaint, which was filed on February 27th in Madison County Circuit Court in Illinois, seeks compensation on behalf of consumers who purchased Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder.
Lead plaintiff, Barbara Mihalich, claims that she purchased Baby Powder for decades and relied on Johnson & Johnson’s assurances that it was safe for external use.
“Plaintiff did not receive what she paid for – a safe product,” the suit says. “Defendant knew the Baby Powder was unsafe for Plaintiff to use in the genital area but did not inform Plaintiff of the safety risks and omitted this safety information from its label. Had Plaintiff known the truth about the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder, she would not have purchased the product. As a result of her purchase of an unsafe product that she reasonably believed to be safe, Plaintiff suffered injury in fact and lost money.”
Mihalich does not claim that Baby Powder caused her or fellow class members physical injury, nor is she seeking damages for personal injuries. Her talcum powder class action lawsuit seeks compensation for Baby Powder purchases, as well as awards for punitive damages, attorney’s fees, costs and any further relief as the court deems just and proper. (Case No. 18-L-264)
Johnson & Johnson is currently named a defendant in more than 6,000 individual talcum powder lawsuits, all of which were filed on behalf of women who allegedly developed ovarian cancer due to their use of Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower for feminine hygiene purposes.
These lawsuits cite more than a dozen studies published since the 1970s that suggest a link between genital talc-use and ovarian cancer. They also point to decades-old documents that plaintiffs claim prove officials at Johnson & Johnson intentionally failed to warn consumers out of a desire to protect the profits derived from its Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower franchises.
Talcum powder ovarian cancer litigations are now underway in several jurisdictions, including Missouri Circuit Court in St. Louis, California Superior Court, and New Jersey federal court, among others.
In recent years, several juries have ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay multi-million dollar judgments to talcum powder lawsuit plaintiffs, with awards ranging from $55 million to $417 million. However, a judge in California overturned the $417 million verdict 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 tossed to comply with new standards set by the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Bristol-Myers Squibb v. Superior Court of California, which requires plaintiffs to file suit in jurisdictions where their injuries occurred or where defendants are located.
However, a $110 million verdict awarded to another out-of-state plaintiff in Missouri was upheld, after the trial court concluded that jurisdiction was appropriate because Johnson & Johnson had used a state-based company to label, package and distribute their talc products.