3 Large Verdicts in Talcum Powder Ovarian Cancer Suits in 2016 – Why They Matter
By Sandra Dalton, Staff Writer
In 2016, juries in St. Louis ordered Johnson and Johnson (J&J) to pay close to $200 million in damages to two women and the family of a third woman, who developed ovarian cancer after using talcum powder for feminine hygiene for decades. All three awards included punitive damages of $50 million or more. As well they should have, J&J is still selling the deadly powder without so much as a warning label. And it marketed talcum powder as a feminine hygiene product for decades even though it knew about the risks as far back as the 1970’s.
Thousands of Women, or more, Harmed
There are about 2,500 ovarian cancer claims pending against J&J. We have no way of knowing how many more women have died and how many have yet to be diagnosed. J&J still refuses to admit that talcum powder is dangerous because it is still selling it. No amount of money can alleviate the suffering, terror, and grief that accompanies a cancer diagnosis and the battle that follows, even for those who beat the disease. But, the large verdicts are a measure of justice for victims and their families, and help raise public awareness of the danger.
J&J Hid the Risk
One juror said that the deciding factor for him was seeing internal J&J documents that showed that the company knew about the risk and intentionally hid the risk. J&J promoted its talcum powder products specifically for feminine hygiene knowing it could cause cancer when used for that purpose.
Compensatory damages are awarded to compensate victims for their economic and non-economic damages. Punitive damages are awarded to punish the wrongdoer. The punitive damage in these three cases should send a strong message to J&J.
J&J will resist settling because that would look like an admission that the talcum powder is dangerous, and that will hurt profits. But multimillion dollar verdicts add up fast. If it starts to look like they will lose more in lawsuits than they stand to profit from the product, they will want to settle the cases rather than take the risk. With the huge verdicts, they will have to consider paying victims substantial amounts in settlements.
When companies put profit before lives, we rarely see those in charge go to prison for the deaths they have caused. Civil suits, brought by victims and their families, are often the only thing that these companies have to fear. The only thing that can stop them from continuing to knowingly and intentionally pushing their deadly products on innocent consumers.
If you or someone you love has developed ovarian cancer after regular use of baby powder or Shower to Shower for feminine hygiene, you can learn more about your rights and how you can recover damages for your losses by searching our directory to find a lawyer near you.