The Missouri Supreme Court last week rejected Johnson & Johnson’s appeal to overturn a $2.12 billion award in a talcum powder cancer lawsuit filed by 22 women who allege that Johnson’s talcum powder products caused their ovarian cancer. Upon having its appeal rejected, Johnson & Johnson announced that it would request a review by the U.S. Supreme Court in what appears to be a last-ditch effort to have the appellate court’s decision reversed. In the meantime, the healthcare company has set aside the funds to cover the judgment. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, mesothelioma or another type of cancer after using Johnson’s Baby Powder, contact us today to find out if you may be eligible for compensation.
The damages award being challenged by Johnson & Johnson was delivered by a St. Louis jury in July 2018 and a lower appellate court in Missouri upheld $2.12 billion of the original $4.69 billion verdict. The talcum powder lawsuit is one of nearly 20,000 currently pending against Johnson & Johnson over claims that the company failed to warn consumers about the potential link between its talc-based powders and cancer. The lawsuits have been filed against Johnson & Johnson in state and federal courts nationwide and each claim involves similar allegations that exposure to toxic talc and asbestos particles in Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower body powder caused long-term users to develop ovarian cancer, mesothelioma and other types of cancer.
Once a staple in American households, Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based Baby Powder was discontinued earlier this year amid reports that the talc used in Johnson’s body powder products may be contaminated with asbestos, a substance known to cause cancers in and around the lungs when inhaled. Both talc and asbestos are naturally occurring minerals that are often found in close proximity to one another in the earth, and talc mined for use in baby powders, cosmetics and other household beauty products can easily be contaminated by asbestos. The discontinuation of the company’s iconic talc-based powder followed a recall of 33,000 bottles of talcum powder, which occurred after the FDA found evidence of asbestos in a bottle of talcum powder purchased from an online retailer. Johnson & Johnson currently faces thousands of lawsuits filed by former talcum powder users and their loved ones who allege that the company knew for decades that asbestos in talc can increase the risk of cancer, yet failed to warn consumers and the medical community.
The largest verdict to date in the ongoing talcum powder litigation came in 2018, when the jury in St. Louis ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $4.69 billion to the group of 22 women who claimed that the company’s talcum powder caused them to develop ovarian cancer. Johnson & Johnson has repeatedly claimed that the landmark talcum powder verdict was the product of a “fundamentally flawed trial, grounded in a faulty presentation of the facts,” and was “at odds with decades of independent scientific evaluations confirming Johnson’s Baby Powder is safe, does not contain asbestos and does not cause cancer.” So far, the company’s attempts to avoid paying the damages award have been unsuccessful.
After years of litigation and a number of significant losses in court, Johnson & Johnson is likely facing increased pressure to negotiate talcum powder settlements with other women who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, ovarian cancer and other cancers, and limit future liability. Just last month, the company announced that it would pay $100 million to settle more than 1,000 lawsuits alleging that its talcum powder products cause cancer. However, Johnson & Johnson was clear in announcing the talcum powder settlement that it was not an admission of liability. On the contrary, the company maintains that its talc-based products are safe and do not cause cancer.
Johnson & Johnson’s decision to phase out the talc-based version of its signature baby powder earlier this year may be an indication that the company is preparing for a global settlement of close to 20,000 pending claims that the powder causes cancer. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, mesothelioma or another type of cancer and you believe Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder to be the cause, do not hesitate to speak to a knowledgeable talcum powder cancer attorney about your legal options.