The U.S. Supreme Court earlier this month rejected a request by Johnson & Johnson to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the state of Mississippi over its controversial talcum powder products. The lawsuit, filed by Attorney General Lynn Fitch, alleged that the healthcare giant failed to provide Mississippi residents with proper warnings about the potential for its talc-based products to cause ovarian cancer. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to deny the request reaffirms an earlier ruling by the Mississippi Supreme Court, which allowed the case against Johnson & Johnson to move forward. If you or someone you love developed ovarian cancer or another type of cancer after using Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses. Contact Consumer Safety Watch as soon as possible to discuss your claim with a knowledgeable talcum powder cancer lawyer.
For more than a century, Johnson & Johnson has marketed its talc-based baby and body powders as safe enough for everyday use and pure and gentle enough for babies. A household staple found in nearly every home’s medicine cabinet, Johnson’s talcum powder has been used by millions of people for personal care and feminine hygiene purposes over the years. Until recently, the main ingredient in Johnson’s Baby Powder was talc, a mineral highly valued for its softness and ability to prevent rashes and keep skin dry. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for talc to contain traces of asbestos, a known carcinogen linked to cancers like mesothelioma. In fact, there is evidence that Johnson & Johnson was concerned for years about traces of asbestos in its talcum powder products and kept these concerns from the public, a finding that has led to tens of thousands of lawsuits by consumers who blame asbestos-contaminated powder for their cancer diagnosis.
The talcum powder lawsuit that Johnson & Johnson was hoping to avoid dates back to 2014, when the company was sued by the state of Mississippi for allegedly violating state law by failing to warn users about the “dangerous and potentially lethal” side effects associated with its products. Mississippi officials claimed that Johnson & Johnson should have included a warning on its signature Baby Powder and other talc-based products about the risk of ovarian cancer, which scientific research has shown may affect women who used Johnson’s talcum powder for feminine hygiene purposes. Johnson & Johnson challenged the basis of the lawsuit, stating that a 2014 decision by the FDA not to require a cancer warning on the company’s talc products preempts state law and that Mississippi is therefore barred from suing.
Johnson & Johnson faces more than 30,000 lawsuits filed over claims that its talcum powder causes cancer, and plaintiffs in the litigation say they could have avoided developing cancer had they been properly warned about the cancer risk. According to a 2018 investigation by Reuters, Johnson & Johnson knew for decades that its talc-based products sometimes contained asbestos and deliberately withheld this information from consumers and federal regulators. Johnson & Johnson has repeatedly claimed that its talc products are safe and never contain asbestos, yet internal company records and other documents released throughout the litigation have shown that between 1971 and the early 2000s, Johnson & Johnson’s raw talc and finished powders sometimes tested positive for asbestos.
Faced with claims that it hid cancer risks from consumers, Johnson & Johnson in May 2020 announced that it would no longer sell its talc-based Baby Powder in the United States or Canada. The company claimed that the decision to discontinue its legacy talc-based product was based on changes in consumer habits and “misinformation around the safety of the product and a constant barrage of litigation advertising.” In October 2021, Johnson & Johnson put tens of thousands of talcum powder lawsuits into bankruptcy and stated that the cases would be delayed while the new subsidiary it created for the express purpose of offloading the potential talcum powder liabilities navigated the bankruptcy process.
Johnson & Johnson is looking to put an end to the current talcum powder litigation and limit its future liability for talc cancer claims. By declining to hear J&J’s request to block Mississippi’s lawsuit, the Supreme Court has left in place the state court’s decision to let the case against the company proceed, which opens the door for other states to sue the company under consumer protection laws. If you used Johnson’s Baby Powder or another talcum powder product and you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer or mesothelioma, do not hesitate to speak to a talcum powder cancer attorney about your legal rights. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries, which you can pursue by filing a talcum powder cancer lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson.