Johnson & Johnson loses case linking Baby Powder to Ovarian Cancer as Will Davidson initiates Mass Tort
- November 1, 2016
- by WILL DAVIDSON LLP
When a consumer product causes injury to an individual, that person often faces steep odds in their battle for justice. Companies, especially ones as large as Johnson & Johnson, are represented by leading lawyers and have access to financial resources that most private citizens could never dream of. A product liability lawyer seeks to level the playing field between corporations and regular people by ensuring that individuals are compensated for damages inflicted on them by company’s products.
Last week, Deborah Giannechi of Modesto, California was awarded $70-million in her lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson by a jury from St. Louis. Giannechi was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012 after years of using Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder. Her case accused the pharmaceutical manufacturer of “negligent conduct” in the making and marketing of its talcum powder.
Cases against Johnson & Johnson
Ms. Giannechi’s case is not unique. In February, relatives of an Alabama woman who died of ovarian cancer were awarded $72-million, and in May a South Dakota ovarian cancer survivor was awarded $55-million. All three cases were tried in St. Louis, and the plaintiffs were represented by Onder Law Firm, a local practice.
“We are pleased the jury did the right thing,” attorney Jim Onder told the Associated Press. “They once again reaffirmed the need for Johnson & Johnson to warn the public of the ovarian cancer risk associated with its product.”
In winning the three cases, Onder cited research that has linked talcum powder with ovarian cancer since the 1970s. Case studies, the Associated Press reports, have shown that ‘women who regularly use talc on their genital area face up to a 40 per cent higher risk of developing ovarian cancer.’
This view is not a consensus. Some research shows little connection between ovarian cancer and the use of baby powder for feminine hygiene, and Johnson & Johnson maintains that their product is perfectly safe.
“We deeply sympathize with the women and families impacted by ovarian cancer,” said Johnson & Johnson spokeswoman Carol Goodrich, in a statement. “We will appeal today’s verdict because we are guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder.”
Indeed, two cases in New Jersey have been ‘thrown out by a judge who said there wasn’t reliable evidence that talc leads to ovarian cancer,’ the Associated Press reports. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, for its part, has called talcum powder “possibly carcinogenic.”
Labeling and marketing
If, as the St. Louis trials suggest, the contents of Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder do indeed cause cancer, then the company’s labeling practices must also be called into question. Not only has the company failed to include any warning on their product, Onder Law Firm believes the company has engaged in questionable marketing tactics, including targeting customers who are already at elevated risk for ovarian cancer, like overweight women, and black and Hispanic women.
Involvement of Will Davidson product liability lawyer
Will Davidson LLP, in partnership with Rochon Genova LLP, are investigating lawsuits on behalf of individuals who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer after years of baby powder use. There is ample scientific research to establish that the regular application of talcum powder to genitals, underwear, or sanitary napkins amplifies the risk of ovarian cancer by 33 per cent.
Approximately 1 in 71 Canadian women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in their lifetime, and about 1 in 91 will die from it. In treating her cancer, Strathdee underwent a full hysterectomy – the removal of her appendix and both ovaries – in addition to chemotherapy. In 2015 alone, 2,800 women developed new cases of ovarian cancer. By commencing a mass tort lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, Will Davidson LLP hopes to help affected women access the justice they deserve.
If you or a member of your family believes their ovarian cancer may be linked to the long term use of Johnson & Johnson talcum powder, contact a product liability lawyer at Will Davidson LLP today for a free, no-obligation consultation.