In February 2016, a federal jury in the city of St. Louis, Missouri awarded $72 million to the family of a woman who died of ovarian cancer after using baby powder with talc for decades. Hundreds of lawsuits are now pending in St. Louis on behalf of women who were injured by talcum powder products.
What You Can Do & How We Can Help
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting talcum powder induced injury cases in the city of St. Louis, Missouri. 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.
St. Louis Jury Awards $72 Million in Talcum Powder Lawsuit
February 2016 — The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that a jury has awarded $72 million on behalf of a woman whose longtime use of Johnson’s baby powder caused ovarian cancer.
The verdict in favor of plaintiff Jacqueline Fox included $10 million in compensatory damages for her pain and suffering and medical expenses. It also included $62 million in punitive damages to penalize Johnson & Johnson for failing to warn about the risk of ovarian cancer.
Fox was a 62 year-old black woman from Birmingham, Alabama who died after a 2-1/2 year battle with ovarian cancer. Her son, Marvin Salter of Jacksonville, Florida, continued the lawsuit after her death. According to the lawsuit, Fox used talcum powder products for more than 35 years.
Baby Powder Marketed to Black Women Despite Cancer Risk
In 1992, an internal memo (PDF) from Johnson & Johnson acknowledged potential cancer risks, but recommended expanding the franchise by targeting blacks and Hispanics. The memo noted that baby powder has a high usage rage among blacks (52%) and Hispanics (37.6%). In 2011, a study found that black women were four times more likely to use talcum products than white women.
Judge Refuses to Centralize Lawsuits in St. Louis Federal Court
In October 2015, Reuters reported that Johnson & Johnson lost a bid to transfer lawsuits from more than 200 women with ovarian cancer into one federal court in St. Louis. J&J argued that the cases were “mass actions” that should be centralized in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. However, federal judges overseeing those suits disagreed, ruling that the lawsuits could stay in state court in St. Louis where they were originally filed.
Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer
Talcum powder is made from talc, which is an extremely soft mineral that is used in cosmetic products to absorb moisture and cut down on friction. It is used to keep skin dry and prevent rashes.
In its natural form, talc often contains asbestos, which is a known carcinogen. Cosmetic products have been asbestos-free since the 1970s, but talcum itself is structurally similar to asbestos.
The problem is that irritating particles of talc have been found in the ovaries of women who used it in their genital area, proving that talc can travel from the vagina to the ovaries. Over time, this might increase the risk of cancer.
Several studies have recently linked the use of talcum powder in the genital area with a 30% higher risk of ovarian cancer. The average woman’s lifetime risk of ovarian cancer is about 1.4%, so a 30% increased risk is about 1.8%.
Information About the City of St. Louis, Missouri
The city of St. Louis, Missouri is located along the western bank of the Mississippi River. The population is around 320,000 people, making it the 60th most populous city in the United States. It is home to the Gateway Arch, which is the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere at 630 feet tall. St. Louis was also the first American city to host the Olympics and invented 7-Up and the ice cream cone.
Do I have a Baby Powder Lawsuit?
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting baby powder induced injury cases in the city of St. Louis, Missouri. 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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