by Wareez Odunayo
A Los Angeles jury has issued a $417-million verdict against Johnson & Johnson, finding the company liable for failing to warn a 63-year-old woman, Eva Echeverria who was diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer about the risks of using its talcum products. The jury’s award included $68 million in compensatory damages and $340 million in punitive damages.
According to court papers, Echeverria accused Johnson & Johnson for failing to warn consumers about talcum powder’s potential cancer risks. She used the company’s baby powder on a daily basis beginning in the 1950s until 2016 and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007.
More than 1,500 lawsuits pending in state and federal court allege Johnson & Johnson and its talc supplier, Imerys Talc America, failed to warn consumers about the potential cancer risks from the company’s talc-based products despite knowing for decades of numerous scientific studies suggesting talc is a cancer-causing mineral.
Echeverria’s lawyer, Mark Robinson, said his client is undergoing cancer treatment while hospitalized and told him she hoped the verdict would lead Johnson & Johnson to put additional warnings on its products.
“Mrs. Echeverria is dying from this ovarian cancer and she said to me all she wanted to do was to help the other women throughout the whole country who have ovarian cancer for using Johnson & Johnson for 20 and 30 years. “She really didn’t want sympathy. “She just wanted to get a message out to help these other women”, Robinson said, according to a New York Times report.
However, Johnson & Johnson spokesperson, Carol Goodrich made it known in a statement that the company will appeal the jury’s decision. She said, “The company sympathizes with women suffering from ovarian cancer that scientific evidence supports the safety of Johnson’s baby powder”.
Despite research that talc-based powders may increase the chance of developing ovarian cancer, Johnson & Johnson have not placed warnings about this risk on their products.
Here are some notable talc lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson:
Deane Berg v. Johnson & Johnson et al (2013)
Barbara Mihalich v. Johnson & Johnson et al. (2014)
Mona Estrada v. Johnson & Johnson et al. (2014)
Jacqueline Fox v. Johnson & Johnson et al. (2014)
Gloria Ristesund v. Johnson & Johnson et al. (2015)
Deborah Giannecchini v. Johnson & Johnson (2016)
Lois Slemp v. Johnson & Johnson (May 2017)