Imerys Talc America, the company that supplied Johnson & Johnson with talc used to manufacture its popular Shower-to-Shower and Baby Powder products, has reportedly agreed to settle a talcum powder lawsuit filed on behalf of 22 women for at least $5 million.
All of the women are alleged to have developed ovarian cancer due to the regular and repeated use of Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based powders for feminine hygiene purposes.
Their case against Johnson & Johnson is currently at trial in Missouri’s 22nd Circuit Court in St. Louis. According to Bloomberg News, Imerys agreed to the talcum powder settlement just before the trial commenced. A spokesperson for the company confirmed the agreement.
Imerys has not admitted fault for any of the plaintiffs’ injuries and continues to deny that its talc was tainted with asbestos. The exact terms of the settlement will not be made public.
Johnson & Johnson and Imerys have been named defendants in more than 9,000 lawsuits alleging that the talc used to make Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower was tainted with asbestos and caused long-time users to develop ovarian cancer or mesothelioma.
Johnson & Johnson has been on the losing end of two talcum powder mesothelioma trials.
Most recently, a California jury ordered the company and its talcum suppliers – including Imerys – to pay $27.1 million to a woman who claimed asbestos-tainted Baby Powder caused her mesothelioma. The jury later added an additional $4 million in punitive damages to that judgment, after finding that the healthcare products giant acted with malice, oppression or fraud.
In April, a jury in New Jersey’s Middlesex County Superior Court awarded $117 million in compensatory and punitive damages to a man who alleged that his life-long use of Baby Powder was the only possible explanation for his mesothelioma diagnosis. Johnson & Johnson was found 70% liable for the damages incurred by the plaintiff and his wife, while Imerys was found 30% responsible.
Johnson & Johnson did prevail in a California mesothelioma trial that concluded last November. Just yesterday, a mistrial was declared in a third California case after the plaintiff passed away.
A mistrial was also declared in a South Carolina mesothelioma trial, after the jury deadlocked.
Since February 2015, Missouri’s 22nd Circuit Court has concluded a half-dozen talcum powder ovarian cancer trials. Juries have found for plaintiffs in four of those cases:
The $72 million verdict was eventually dismissed 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 held that plaintiffs must file suit in jurisdictions where defendants are headquartered or where their injuries occurred.
However, the $110 million verdict was upheld, after the trial court concluded that jurisdiction was appropriate because Johnson & Johnson had used a Missouri-based company to label, package and distribute their talc products.
Johnson & Johnson is appealing the remaining Missouri verdicts that were awarded to out-of-state plaintiffs.