Public health advocates have called asbestos in talcum baby powder “the crime of the century.” Johnson & Johnson faces more than 2,500 lawsuits by women and their families alleging that executives failed to disclose known safety concerns regarding their Baby Powder and Shower To Shower products that put users at risk for developing ovarian cancer. J&J points to large-scale studies that support the safety of talc powder and seeks to overturn the handful of multi-million-dollar verdicts awarded to plaintiffs.
The talcum powder and ovarian cancer link has been established by several studies:
Health organizations have been slow to act due to conflicting evidence:
To some industry insiders, the evidence for a link between baby powder and cancer is convincing. In the case of Gloria Ristesund, a woman who won $55 million after her ovarian cancer diagnosis led to several surgeries including a hysterectomy, lawyers produced damning internal memos produced by a whistleblower within Johnson & Johnson. A 1997 memo from a company medical consultant said that “anybody who denies” the risk of hygienic talc use and ovarian cancer is “denying the obvious in the face of all evidence to the contrary” – much like those who denied the link between smoking and cancer.
Diane Berg of Sioux Falls, South Dakota was the first talc lawsuit plaintiff to have her day in court. In 2009, the 49-year-old physician’s assistant brought her lawsuit against J&J after being diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer two year prior. She believed her 30-year use of talcum powder for feminine hygiene led to the hysterectomy and six months of painful chemotherapy she suffered. J&J offered her an out-of-court settlement of $1.3 million if she agreed to sign a confidentiality clause and drop all public accusations. She opted to forego the settlement and blow the whistle instead. Her case went to court in 2013, long after her cancer had gone into remission, and the South Dakota jury found J&J negligent, but couldn’t reach a unanimous decision about just compensation, so no damages were awarded. “I’m so relieved that the issue is finally getting the attention it deserves,” Ms. Berg wrote in the NY Post.
Some talc settlements and verdicts include:
In a shocking move in June 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court’s Justice Alito ruled that lawsuits can only be brought against corporations in the state where the defendant is located or the location where the alleged harm occurred. This action affects consolidated mass torts and class actions across the country. Within hours of the Supreme Court ruling, Missouri Circuit Judge Rex Burlison declared a mistrial after two weeks of court proceedings for two out-of-state families suing Johnson & Johnson for talcum powder ovarian cancer deaths. Johnson & Johnson has filed appeals for prior verdicts, but it is unclear what will happen to them or the other 1,000 similar baby powder lawsuits on file and awaiting trial in Missouri.
Bart Bernard is a distinguished personal injury attorney with law offices in Baton Rouge and Lafayette, Louisiana. Over the past decade, his track record of favorable verdicts has earned him membership in the Elite Lawyers of America and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
Though the evidence that talc manufacturers had knowledge of the dangers of their products and negligently kept that information from the public is compelling, the case is not a slam-dunk. It takes an experienced litigator and a vast network of respected medical professionals willing to testify on a patient’s behalf to draw the irrefutable connection between an individual patient’s cancer and the use of baby powder. Bart Bernard is currently assisting those who believe they have been injured by long-term use of talc products.
If you or a loved one has suffered from crushing medical bills and adverse health after years of using talcum powder, contact dangerous drug attorney Bart Bernard for a free case review. All legal services are fee-free unless he wins money on your behalf.
Last modified: May 14, 2018