August 23, 2017 — A jury in Los Angeles, California awarded $417 million to a woman with terminal ovarian cancer who used Johnson’s Baby Powder since the 1950s.
After a 3-week trial and two days of deliberation, the jury found Johnson & Johnson responsible for failing to warn women about the risk of ovarian cancer from using talcum powder for genital hygiene.
The 63 year-old plaintiff, Eva Echeverria, was too sick to attend the trial but testified by video to the jury. She recently had a softball-sized tumor removed from her ovaries and is hospitalized for cancer treatment.
Echeverria hopes the $417 million verdict will lead to warning labels on Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder and talcum powder products. She says she never would have used the product if she had known that talcum powder might increase her risk of developing cancer.
Lawyers presented evidence dating back to the 1960s linking talcum powder and cancer. For example, a study in 1982 discovered a 90% increased risk. Documents show that Johnson & Johnson was aware of the studies but continued marketing baby powder for adult women.
Johnson & Johnson is now facing around 5,000 lawsuits nationwide over its talc products. Four previous trials in St. Louis ended in combined verdicts totaling around $300 million. Echeverria’s case was the first to go to trial in California and the largest jury verdict so far.
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