Georgia Talcum Powder Lawsuit Ends in Mistrial After Jury Deadlocks

Published on October 10, 2019 by Laurie Villanueva

The jury convened for Georgia’s first talcum powder cancer trial deadlocked earlier this week, forcing the presiding judge to declare a mistrial.

Talcum Powder Trial Focused on Fibrous Talc and Cancer

The talcum powder lawsuit was filed by the family of Diane Brower, who passed away at the age of 65 following a three-year battle with ovarian cancer. According to the complaint, Bower had long used Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based powders for feminine hygiene prior to her diagnosis. Her family believes the regular and repeated genital application of talcum powder contributed to Bower’s cancer.

Unlike thousands of other talcum powder cancer claims pending nationwide, the Bowers’ lawsuit does not include allegations that Johnson & Johnson’s products contain asbestos. In fact, according to CVN.com, a pretrial order actually prevented any reference to asbestos during the trial. Instead the case focused on fibrous talc and its alleged association with cancer.

During the three-week trial in Fulton County State Court, plaintiffs presented expert testimony in a bid to prove the link between talc and ovarian cancer, as well as internal and patent documents which they claim demonstrated Johnson & Johnson was aware of the risk by the 1950s

Majority of Talcum Powder Jurors Favored Plaintiff

After three days of deliberations, jurors were unable to come to agreement on the issue of proximate cause. By Tuesday morning, they informed the presiding judge they were deadlocked 10-2 on Tuesday morning. The Court then issued an Allen Charge, ordering jurors to reach an agreement if at all possible. But they were unable to do so, and the mistrial was declared Tuesday afternoon.

While the family was obviously disappointed by the outcome, their attorneys were encouraged that the majority of jurors had favored the plaintiffs.

“Scientific studies and internal company documents show the liability of Johnson & Johnson and the link of Baby Powder use to ovarian cancer,” they said in a statement. “We will continue to move forward with these important claims on behalf of ovarian cancer victims in venues across the nation.”

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