A jury found that Johnson & Johnson engaged in “negligent conduct” in making and marketing its talc products. In a trial that started a month ago, a St Louis jury found that Johnson & Johnson talc products have caused or contributed to the stage IV ovarian cancer of Deborah Giannecchini.
The 63 year old woman was awarded $67.5 million for punitive damages and $2.575 million in compensatory damages. $2 million of the punitive damages will come from Johnson & Johnson talc supplier, Imerys. This is the first time that the the talc supplier has also been held liable for damages. In two previous similar product liability lawsuits filled in St. Louis, Johnson and Johnson lost $ 55 million and $72 million and was the only company held accountable for damages. Approximately 2,000 similar cases have been filed against Johnson and Johnson with approximately half of them filled in St. Louis.
In New Jersey, two product liability cases against the talc manufacturer were rejected by a judge who decided that there was no reliable evidence that talc powder was linked to ovarian cancer.
While some research has found talc harmless other research has been showing connections between ovarian cancer and the regular us of talc on genital areas.
The St Louis lawyers are using case studies showing that women using talc on their genital area have a 40% higher risk of developing ovarian cancer. The product liability lawyers have been arguing that Johnson and Johnson marketed the product toward overweight black and Hispanic women. These women are also a group of women most at-risk for ovarian cancer.
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