Jury Awards Woman $417M In Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Lawsuit

Three months after a Missouri jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a record-setting $110.5 million to a Virginia woman who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer linked to the company’s talcum-based products, another jury in California has dwarfed that judgment, handing down a $417 million verdict in a similar suit.

Monday’s ruling is the first in California related to allegations that Johnson & Johnson ignored a possible link between cancer and its talcum-based products.

Reuters reports that the verdict, reached after two days of deliberation, marks the largest against Johnson & Johnson.

The case involves a California woman who was diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer in 2007. According to lawyers for the woman, she began using Johnson & Johnson’s talcum-powder products when she was 11.

The jury found that the company failed to warn the woman about the increased risk of ovarian cancer caused by talcum-based powders, Reuters reports.

A spokesperson for Johnson & Johnson confirmed the verdict to Reuters, noting that it plans to appeal the decision.

Other Cases

Johnson & Johnson has faced several lawsuits related to its talcum-based products and a possible link to cancer.

Back in May, a Missouri jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $110.5 million to a Virginia woman who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012. According to the lawsuit, the woman claimed her illness was caused by more than 40 years of using Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products, including baby powder.

The woman’s lawyers cited much of the same research used in previous cases, including a 2016 verdict that awarded $72 million to the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer.

In those studies, women who used the products had a greater risk of being diagnosed with cancer than a control group that did not use the products.

Studies going back to 1971 have suggested this link exists. In fact, at least one lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson cites a 1982 study on the issue that found a 92% increased risk in ovarian cancer with women who used talc-based products around their genitals. The researcher behind that study directly advised a J&J doctor to place a warning label on their products.

Johnson & Johnson and other companies have continued to defend the use of talcum powder in feminine hygiene products; however, the condom industry halted the mineral’s use in the mid-1990s amid the growing concerns about its link to ovarian cancer risk.