Johnson & Johnson Wins Another Jury Decision
Unlike women before her that were stricken with ovarian cancer, a St. Louis woman failed to prove, according to jurors, that she was exposed to Johnson's Baby Powder
Monday, December 23, 2019 - Johnson & Johnson has won the second case this month, and the eighth case this year having successfully defended themselves against a woman that claimed that using Johnson's Baby Powder repeatedly throughout her life caused her ovarian cancer. WKMOV4 News St. Louis reported that 54-year old Vickie Forrest from St. Louis Missouri, failed to prove that using Johnson's Baby Powder for decades as a part of her daily feminine hygiene routine caused her ovarian cancer. Legal experts focused on Johnson & Johnson's closing arguments that debunked the opinions of the plaintiff's expert witnesses and questioned the motives of the plaintiff for bringing the lawsuit. This St. Louis court earlier awarded a group of 22 women over $4 billion in punitive damages for their ovarian cancer and the defense suggested that the plaintiff was undertaking the lawsuit "for the money." Ms. Forrest was seeking $20 million in compensatory damages and $5 billion in punitive damages. Talcum powder cancer risk link was first detected in a 1971 study identifying talc particles cancerous ovarian tissue and national attorneys defending women harmed from talcum powder by Johnson and Johnson offer a free consultation before filing a claim.
Interestingly, the defense did not directly attack the science underlying the findings of experts or independent scientists whose methods of testing talc have found particles of cancer-causing asbestos and fibrous talc but instead focused their closing arguments on how the plaintiff failed to prove that she had been exposed to those substances. "What you see here is essentially a kitchen sink approach to this case by the plaintiff's lawyers. Asbestos, fibrous talc, arsenic, they have thrown it all in with nothing, no evidence, to support those claims," Allison Brown, one of the company's lawyers, said. "There was not one witness that came in here and told you how much of any of those substances they think Ms. Forrest was exposed to," according to KMOV4.
It is one thing to find that Johnson's Baby Powder contains cancer-causing substances but another to prove that a person was exposed to the substance. Anyone with ovarian cancer can say that they used talcum powder but there is only one way to prove it. It is very helpful to a plaintiff's case to have a biopsy of the cancerous tissue to see if particles of talc can be found. Women who have successfully sued Johnson & Johnson have introduced studies where biopsies of cancerous ovarian tissues from women who had died from the disease had found particles of talc. In one study, 22 out of 22 samples contained an identifiable measure of talc. According to the National Institute of Health, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has concluded that "cosmetic (perineal) talc application as possibly carcinogenic to humans." Experts that have studied the topic have testified that particles of talc can enter the vagina and migrate through the Fallopian tubes into the ovaries and remain there permanently causing sufficient inflammation that leads to cancer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is of the opinion that "talc may trigger an inflammatory response that in some exposed women may progress to cancer."