In May 2017, a jury in Missouri awarded a verdict of $110 million to a 62-year-old woman who developed ovarian cancer after using products containing talcum powder. The verdict was assessed against Johnson & Johnson, the company that manufactured the products in question, baby powder and Shower to Shower. The victim was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012. She sued Johnson & Johnson, alleging they hid the possibility that talc could cause cancer. The trial lasted three weeks.
Johnson & Johnson has been hit with several other large jury verdicts in talcum powder lawsuits, including some in the tens of millions of dollars. Those include verdicts of $72 million, $70 million, and $55 million.
Many lawsuits are currently pending regarding talcum powder and how it can cause women to develop ovarian cancer. Talc is a mineral, and its powder form is prevalent in certain consumer products. Women in particular have used these products for years for hygiene. The lawsuits allege that Johnson & Johnson knew there was a risk that talcum powder caused ovarian cancer but knowingly concealed that information from consumers for years. As a result, the product liability lawsuits filed by victims against the company seek monetary damages for developing a life-altering injury like cancer.
A product liability lawsuit can contain many allegations against the product manufacturer, seller, or other corporate entity in the stream of commerce. Common causes of action are design defects, manufacturing defects, and marketing defects (also known as a failure to warn). A manufacturing defect means a product was improperly manufactured or created. This typically refers to a failure or breakdown in the production process. On the other hand, a design defect allegation is that a product was manufactured properly, but the design was faulty or dangerous and let to the consumer becoming injured after using the product in a reasonably foreseeable way.
Failure to warn is the basis of many talcum powder lawsuits and class actions filed in courts in the United States. This theory alleges that a product manufacturer or seller should have advised customers or consumers that they should not use a product in certain ways that could result in injuries. These claims are common when the manufacturer or seller has information that the consumer would not ordinarily have.
In talcum powder lawsuits, plaintiffs are alleging that Johnson & Johnson knew about a link between their products and ovarian cancer. Per the lawsuits, Johnson & Johnson has been aware of this information for many years. Of all personal injury actions, product liability claims can be some of the most complex. They are often technical and scientific in nature, typically leading to complex litigation. Satisfying the relevant legal burden usually requires expert testimony. Large companies and drug manufacturers put lots of resources into defending these claims and hiring their own experts. Thus, the jury ends up listening to testimony from multiple expert witnesses and then must decide the ultimate outcome of the case.
If you have been hurt by a defective product, call the product liability attorneys at Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz. We are the largest plaintiff’s personal injury law firm based in Tennessee. We have handled cases against big corporations for more than 25 years, recovering over $1 billion for our clients through settlements, verdicts, and judgments. For a free consultation, call our office today, toll-free, at 1-800-LAW-4004.