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California Jury Awards $417 Million in Talc Powder Case

Posted by Joseph F. Sullivan | Aug 23, 2017 | 0 Comments

Since the 1970s, concerns about Johnson & Johnson's talc powder have grown. Talcum powder is a substance made from a mineral consisting of magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. Since the late 1800's Johnson & Johnson has been adding fragrance to it and marketing it to women for genital use to absorb moisture in the skin and reduce friction. Studies have provided increasing evidence that the product causes ovarian cancer in women who use the powder regularly.

However, the company refuses to put warning labels on its product. Instead of warning women, it continues to target women to increase sales. Six juries in Missouri have heard the evidence against Johnson & Johnson and five of them have found that its conduct warranted a significant award of punitive damages. In the latest development, a California jury, awarded a victim of ovarian cancer $417,000,000, over $300,000,000 of which was punitive damages.

Here's what you need to know about the case.

The Lawsuit

Eva Echeverria, a 62-year-old woman, recently brought a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson. She claimed its talcum powder was responsible for her ovarian cancer. Echeverria had started using the company's talc powder when she was 11 years old, and her diagnosis of ovarian cancer occurred in 2007.

Johnson & Johnson, the biggest healthcare company in the world, had been aware of concerns about its product for decades. However, it persisted in selling talc powder without warning labels. The repeated use for many years, according to Echeverria, led to the development of her ovarian cancer. She sought to hold the company liable for failing to warn her about the risks associated with its product, and for advertising talc powder to women without disclosing the warnings.

The Case

The claim was filed with the California Superior Court of Los Angeles County. The lawsuit is the first talcum powder case to go to trial in California. The trial lasted 3 weeks, and the jury deliberated for two days before making a final judgment.

The selection of the jury began on July 24, 2017, and the opening statements began on July 26. The plaintiff presented arguments for 10 days and presented evidence of five experts. Afterward, the defendant presented counter-arguments for four days, offering testimony of four experts.

The Outcome

Echeverria claimed her use of Johnson & Johnson's talc powder had led to her cancer. The jury found the company, as well as Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc., liable for her illness. It ordered the company to pay Echeverria a total of $417 million in compensation, including $347 million in punitive damages.

Johnson & Johnson currently faces 5,500 claims in U.S. courts regarding the use of its talc powder, and a spokesperson said it would appeal the court's decision. The company claimed there was not enough evidence to prove that its talc powder caused Echeverria's ovarian cancer. Nonetheless, the jury found the company liable and determined to hold it responsible for the negative health effects of its product and for its irresponsible marketing practices.

Call Our New York City Talc Powder Lawsuit Attorneys Today at (212) 566-1000

At Sullivan & Brill, LLP, we are dedicated to providing passionate legal assistance. If you have suffered from cancer caused by talc powder, our firm can represent you in court. We can build your case, discuss your options, and work hard to hold Johnson & Johnson, and other companies, responsible for failing to warn consumers about hazardous healthcare products.

Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation.

For more information about Talcum Powder read more here.

About the Author

Joseph F. Sullivan

Born in Jamaica, Queens to working class parents, Joseph Sullivan became the second member of his family to attend college and the first to obtain an advanced degree. He graduated cum laude from Temple University School of Law. While there, he was a writer and editor of the Temple Law Review. ...


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