October 28, 2016 — A jury in St. Louis has awarded $70 million to a woman who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using Johnson’s Baby Powder on her genitals for 45 years.
The case involves Deborah Giannecchini, a former hospital secretary from Modesto, California. She says she started using talcum powder as a teenager in 1967, and only stopped when she was diagnosed with metastatic stage-4 ovarian cancer in 2012.
In 2014, she filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson for failing to warn about the risk. Her lawyers say the company has been urged since at least 1982 to use warning labels, but focused instead on increasing marketing efforts toward adult women.
The trial began on September 26 and ended on October 27. After three hours of deliberations, jurors awarded Giannecchini $575,000 in economic damages and $2 million in non-economic damages.
The jury also ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $65 million in punitive damages. The company’s co-defendant and talc supplier, Imerys Talc America, Inc., was ordered to pay $2.5 million.
Imerys began labeling its talc as a possible carcinogen in 2006 and has escaped liability until now. The company was cleared of wrongdoing in two other massive jury verdicts in St. Louis this year — $72 million in February and another $55 million award in May. Over 2,000 similar lawsuits are pending nationwide.
Lawyers for Johnson & Johnson immediately announced plans to appeal the $70 million verdict, citing two cases in New Jersey that were recently dismissed by a state court judge who said there was a lack of scientific evidence.
The lawsuit was filed in the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court of the State of Missouri — In Re: Giannecchini v. Johnson & Johnson et al. — Case No. 1422-CC09012-01.
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