Baby Powder Lawyer News: Record Verdict Won in St. Louis
The First Ovarian Cancer Lawsuit to Allege Asbestos in Talcum Powder
Friday, May 3, 2019 - St. Louis has become the center of the action for baby powder lawyer teams, given that a majority of the successful trials have taken place in the midwest city. In July of 2018, a case brought forward by 22 victims of ovarian cancer set a new precedent for talcum powder litigation: The case's $4.7 billion represented a record verdict, and the case was the first to connect the presence of asbestos in Johnson's baby powder to ovarian cancer.
In all previous cases, the complaint alleged talc particles themselves were the cause of higher rates of ovarian cancer in women. Medical researchers have presented a theory to explain the preponderance of research linking talcum powder to ovarian cancer: When talcum powder is using for genital dusting, talc particles naturally enter the female reproductive system. Over time, the particles migrate through fallopian tubes and settle in the ovaries. Talc is not readily absorbable; talc particles have been found to remain intact in the human body for years or even decades. The presence of the talc particles results in inflammation, which makes fertile ground for cancer cells to flourish. In many cases, talc particles have been discovered in the ovaries of women suffering from ovarian cancer.
Through further research into buried Johnson & Johnson documents and internal memos, the baby powder lawyer team involved in this case and others revealed evidence showing the company's raw talc supply was contaminated with asbestos during the 1970s. This supply was used to make cosmetic products such as Johnson's Baby Powder and Shower to Shower.
While Johnson & Johnson was aware of trace quantities of asbestos in its raw talc supply, the company omitted certain test results when submitting to an FDA request. Instead of providing all known testing of its talc supply, J&J officials submitted only the tests that indicated no asbestos was present. Meanwhile, documents unearthed during discovery show the company was aware of its asbestos contamination problem and even sought expert advice. They were told talc could never be considered completely asbestos-free. Even in spite of this information, the company continued to manufacture cosmetic products containing a known carcinogen and market them for routine, everyday use for women and babies.
A jury in the City of St. Louis circuit court found in favor of the 22 plaintiffs, women and the family members of women who had suffered from ovarian cancer and had a history of using Johnson's Baby Powder or Shower to Shower in their hygiene routine over the course of decades. The jury assigned a record $4.7 billion in compensatory and punitive damages.
When Johnson & Johnson sought an appeal in December of 2018, asking that the cases be tried separately, the verdict was upheld by Judge Rex Burlison to the satisfaction of the baby powder lawyer team. Judge Burlison wrote, "substantial evidence was adduced at trial of particularly reprehensible conduct" by Johnson & Johnson, such as evidence proving company officials "knew of the presence of asbestos in products that they knowingly targeted for sale to mothers and babies, knew of the damage their products caused, and misrepresented the safety of these products for decades."