Failure to Warn Consumers of the Link Between Talc and Ovarian Cancer
On 27 October, a jury in St. Louis, Missouri ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay nearly $68 million in punitive and compensatory damages to Deborah Giannecchini of Modesto, California. Giannecchini is battling Stage IV ovarian cancer and sued Johnson & Johnson because of a link between ovarian cancer and talcum powder in feminine hygiene products. Giannecchini specifically alleged that Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder and Shower to Shower contributed to her ovarian cancer.
Details of the Case
Deborah Giannecchini was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012. Since her diagnosis, cancer has metastasized to Stage IV, often considered fatal. Giannecchini used Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder and Shower to Shower soap consistently for many years. In battling her cancer, she discovered the link between the products she trusted and the disease taking her life. After seeking experienced legal advice, she initiated the lawsuit leading to the recent verdict.
The Ruling Explained
The jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $65 million in punitive damages and nearly $2.3 million in compensatory damages. In addition, the jury also ordered Imerys Talc America, Inc. to pay $2.5 million in punitive damages and $150,000 in compensatory damages. These companies were ordered to pay because they did not, and still do not, warn consumers of how the use of products containing talc increases their risk of ovarian cancer.
Nine members of the jury voted in favor of this with the ruling, with three members opposed to the ruling. The jury was comprised of persons with no required legal, medical, or scientific knowledge.
Scientific Evidence of the Link Between Talc and Ovarian Cancer
The link between talcum powder, also known simply as talc, and ovarian cancer was first established in the 1970s when some talc products contained asbestos. In 1982, a scientific journal published the statistical correlation between talc use for feminine hygiene and ovarian cancer. Several studies have since followed, many of which support the link between regular use of talcum powder for feminine hygiene and ovarian cancer. Some studies, at which many were associated with Johnson & Johnson, dispute this link.
According to existing studies, talc in feminine hygiene products can travel through fallopian tubes and other organs before settling in the ovaries. This excess material can trigger excessive growth of cells that can then turn into ovarian cancer.
Previous Lawsuits Involving Talcum Powder
In February and May, Missouri courts awarded a total of $127 million to ovarian cancer sufferers, further substantiating the link between ovarian cancer and talcum powder. Also this year, however, a New Jersey court dismissed cases alleging a link between ovarian cancer and talcum powder.
California courts have not heard any cases on the link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. This dearth of case law in California, though, may be attributed to poor knowledge of the link between talc and ovarian cancer. This ruling for a local woman may help bring attention to this potentially deadly link between the use of talc powder and ovarian cancer.
What to Do if You Are Impacted
According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 22,280 women in the United States will be diagnosed in 2016 alone. Further studies reveal that an estimated 2,000 of those women regularly used feminine hygiene products containing talc. If you or someone you love is one of these many women, seek experienced legal advice to determine if you are entitled to damages.
Talcum Powder Injury Lawyers
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Talcum Powder Injury Lawyer. If you or someone you hold dear has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, or other illness resulting from the use of talcum powder products, give me a call promptly at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for fast, free, and friendly advice.
The results our injury attorneys have obtained may be viewed on my Past Verdicts and Settlements page.
Since 1982 my staff and I have been practicing personal injury law exclusively.
Image Source: Courtesy of Austin Kirk (http://www.flickr.com/photos/aukirk/12795954293/) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons