May 3, 2016 — A jury in St. Louis, Missouri has awarded $55 million to a woman who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using talc baby powder for genital hygiene.
The plaintiff, Gloria Ristesund, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2011 after using Johnson’s Baby Powder for nearly 40 years. She is one of more than 1,200 women who have filed lawsuits accusing Johnson & Johnson of failing to warn about the risk.
After a month-long trial, the jury deliberated for most of yesterday before awarding Ristesund $5 million in compensation for her injury, medical expenses, and other damages. The jury also awarded $50 million in punitive damages against Johnson & Johnson and a subsidiary.
The company was cleared of liability on conspiracy claims, despite evidence that it created a task force with the goal of downplaying information linking talcum powder and cancer.
In closing arguments, attorneys for Ristesund told the jury:
“They can say whatever they want to with their fancy experts when they come up here that testify in litigation all the time. This is what they said behind closed doors, when they’re in the house and they don’t think anybody’s listening. A whole different song and dance.”
Imerys Talc America, Inc., the world’s leading talc producer, was cleared of liability. About a decade ago, Imerys began including warnings about possible carcinogenic effects of talc in the Materials Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) supplied to Johnson & Johnson.
Lawyers for Ristesund say these warnings alone should have been sufficient to alert Johnson & Johnson. Imerys issued the warnings shortly after genital talc use was declared “possibly carcinogenic” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
In 2006, health officials in Canada classified genital talc use as “very toxic” and “cancer causing,” similar to asbestos.
In the past, talcum powder products were often contaminated with asbestos. Cosmetics have been asbestos-free since the 1970s, but studies continue to demonstrate a 30-60% increased risk of ovarian cancer when talc is used for genital hygiene.
Do I have a Talc Baby Powder Lawsuit?
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting talc baby powder induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Product Liability Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
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