The thousands of plaintiffs involved in the baby powder lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson rejoiced on July 12th, 2018, when a jury announced that the manufacturing company would have to pay $4.69 billion dollars to 22 women and their loved ones.
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Baby powder is a well-known product and while pediatricians have regularly debated the safety of this product, adult women have been provided with little information on the potential dangers - specifically if used for feminine hygiene.
Research first concluded that baby powder, which is talcum powder, could result in serious health conditions such as ovarian cancer in the 1970’s when a scientific group in the U.K. released their findings after performing biopsies on numerous ovarian tumors. They reported that in many of the tumors they dissected, a literal piece of talc was found inside of the tumor. They concluded that if women used talcum powder for feminine hygiene, the powder could literally travel up the reproductive system and cause both irritation and cancer.
Then, in the early 90’s, a doctor working at Harvard released his analysis of a study with the conclusion that if a woman used baby powder regularly, she potentially increased her risk of developing cancer by 92%.
These were just two examples of studies which showed that women using baby powder have a significantly increased risk of developing cancer, yet Johnson & Johnson never informed customers about this risk.
The first lawsuit regarding talcum powder was filed in 2013 by a woman who used baby powder in her undergarments for 30 years and ultimately developed ovarian cancer. When she learned that her cancer could have been caused by the baby powder, she had the tumors that were removed from her ovaries analyzed by three separate medical experts.
All three medical experts found a piece of talc inside of the tumor they were asked to analyze.
This caused her to make the decision to file a defective product lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, alleging that the manufacturer was negligent because they had failed to warn her of the risks associated with using the product.
Since then, thousands of other women have joined her, each alleging that talcum powder caused their cancer and that Johnson & Johnson could have prevented this serious medical condition.
This latest outcome, with $4.69 billion dollars being awarded to a group of plaintiffs, is a clear signal to manufacturers that they need to fully test their products for all potential risks before putting them on the market, otherwise, the law will hold them accountable.
In this recent trial, $4.14 billion of the award was given as punitive damages to the plaintiffs. This is significant because punitive damages are essentially extra compensation that is awarded to the plaintiff and is intended to punish the defendant for their actions. By awarding punitive damages in such a high amount, the jury is clearly showing Johnson & Johnson that taking risks with customers lives in order to make money is unacceptable. This decision was also likely made to protect future customers - after all, baby powder is just one of many products produced by this manufacturer.
If you believe that your cancer was caused by regular baby powder use, contact our law firm as soon as possible. We will review your case and then present you with all the legal options available to you.
When choosing an attorney, remember that it’s important to work with an attorney who has experience handling defective product cases and who has the resources to go head to head with a large corporation such as Johnson & Johnson. Be sure to ask for references and case examples. If possible, speak to a former personal injury client.
Don’t hesitate to call, in each case, a statute of limitations applies and your time to file may be running out.