In the last 30 years, over 20 scientific studies have linked talcum powder to ovarian cancer. The large manufacturing company Johnson & Johnson has allegedly known about the dangers of talcum powder, including Shower-to-Shower and Baby Powder. Thousands of women across the country have filed class-action lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson after they used their talcum products and became diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Below are some of the most notable and recent talcum powder lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson:
Gloria Ristesund v. Johnson & Johnson et. al. (2016)
A Missouri jury awarded the plaintiff $55 million in damages after she contracted ovarian cancer. The plaintiff had used Johnson and Johnson’s Shower to Shower Powder and Baby Powder on her pelvic area for decades. The plaintiff needed a hysterectomy as well as other surgeries. She received $5 million in compensatory damages for her expenses and $50 million for punitive damages.
Johnson & Johnson appealed this verdict successfully in June 2018. The appeals court reversed the verdict based on a 2017 Supreme Court ruling regarding the legality of state courts to rule on cases that originated in other states. The plaintiff in this case was not from Missouri and her injuries did not take place in Missouri. The decision is still a milestone in talcum powder class action lawsuits, however, because the reversal did not reverse the case because the talcum powder did not cause her cancer.
The State of Talcum Powder Lawsuits in 2020
Currently, plaintiffs have filed over 17,000 talcum powder lawsuits. These lawsuits have been consolidated via multidistrict litigation (MDL). The largest verdict amount in a talcum powder class action lawsuit came from a Los Angeles Jury in August 2017. Six different talcum powder verdicts have come from Missouri Courts. Six of these verdicts from juries have favored the plaintiff, with five other awards totaling over $724 million.
Johnson & Johnson is Appealing a 4.7 Billion Verdict
A Missouri jury awarded $213.2 million in damages per person in a class-action lawsuit involving 22 women. These women all used talc products from Johnson & Johnson that were contaminated with asbestos. The company has appealed the verdict, claiming that 17 of the women in the class action do not live in Missouri. Once again, they cited a 2017 Supreme Court ruling that holds that limits the ability of courts to rule on cases brought by plaintiffs who live out of state.
Last week, in June 2020, an appeals court in Missouri refused to toss out the jury verdict. Instead, the appeals court ruled to reduce the total payout for the class action lawsuit to $2.1 billion. The judges cut the punitive damages award to 1.6 billion to 4 billion. Importantly, the appeals court upheld the award of $500 million in actual damages.
This is an important precedent for new plaintiffs who want to join class-action lawsuits involving talcum powder. The appeals court upheld the jury’s finding that Johnson & Johnson’s products caused the plaintiff’s ovarian cancer and mesothelioma. By mainly upholding the jury’s award of damages, the appeals court upheld the jury’s decision that Johnson & Johnson has “significant reprehensibility” in the way that it handled the issue of dangerous asbestos in its products.
Johnson & Johnson is Now Settling Some Talcum Powder Lawsuits
Until recently, Johnson & Johnson has not settled talcum powder lawsuits. The company changed this precedent by settling three notable talcum powder class action lawsuits in 2019. Some legal scholars have suggested that their move to settle more talcum powder lawsuits could indicate that their overall approach is changing.
Johnson & Johnson settled one of their cases at the final hour when the jury had been deliberating for three hours. In another case, the jury deliberated for two days before the company and the 36-year-old plaintiff came to a confidential settlement agreement. The third settlement happened before the trial began.
The plaintiff in this case had a pre-trial victor after a judge allowed her to include an expert witness that linked mesothelioma with the use of talcum powder. This expert witness was prepared to testify that he found evidence of talcum powder in the woman’s fallopian and ovarian tissue.
Contact Our Experienced Alabama Lawyers Today
If you or your loved one has developed mesothelioma or ovarian cancer after using talcum powder, you may be entitled to compensation. At Heninger Garrison Davis, our lawyers have extensive experience representing clients in class action lawsuits. Contact our Alabama personal injury law firm today to schedule your initial consultation today.