For decades, Johnson & Johnson sold its flagship baby powder when its own documents showed that the company knew exactly of the dangers.
It was not a secret that talcum powder use had the potential to cause ovarian cancer and mesothelioma because it was tainted with asbestos. However, the millions of women who were subjected to the ovarian cancer risk were kept in the dark.
Now, the company is facing thousands of lawsuits from people who have been sickened with ovarian cancer or mesothelioma.
If you or a loved one are facing health problems from your use of talc powder, call our office for a free legal consultation to learn your legal options.
Why Are There Talcum Powder Lawsuits?
Talcum powder has been used in cosmetic products for decades. It is one of the softest minerals in existence. Talc based products are intended to absorb moisture and provide a glossy and shiny appearance.
Talc containing products have been associated with freshness. Women were taught to apply talcum powder to their sanitary napkins for hygienic purposes.
Women have used talc powder for decades. Genital talc has been marketed as a way for women to keep feeling fresh in their perineal area. Baby powder and feminine hygiene have gone hand in hand for a long time.
They have used baby powder and shower products that contain talc in their genital area. However, this has caused them to develop ovarian cancer.
The companies that make these talc based products are now having to answer for the harm that these women have suffered.
Asbestos Exposure from Talc Powder
Talc is mined from the ground. It comes from open pit mines, and it is drilled and blasted from the ground. This process will pull up talc and some minerals that occur in the ground around it.
One mineral that is found in close proximity to talc in the ground is asbestos. Not every sample of mined talc contains asbestos. Nevertheless, there is a definite possibility that any talc containing product could also have asbestos.
This is true in talcum powder products, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower.
Scientific Evidence Has Tied Talc to Asbestos for Decades
Research going as far back as the 1960s has found that talc samples have contained asbestos. Johnson & Johnson has known this too. Its own tests in the early 1970s showed the same exact thing.
However, Johnson & Johnson not only failed to warn the public, but it also kept the test results from the FDA.
It has consistently tried to influence the public debate to argue for the safety of its baby powder when corporate documents show that the company fully knew about the problem.
The Risks of Mesothelioma and Ovarian Cancer from Talcum Powders
Thousands of women have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using talc based products. In addition, there are also risks of mesothelioma because talc particles could contain asbestos.
Scientists have debated whether talcum powder use causes cancer. The evidence and the number of talcum powder lawsuits is beginning to show that there is at least a very strong connection between talcum powder use and ovarian cancer or mesothelioma.
How Perineal Talc Use Causes Ovarian Cancer
The main scientific theory that links Johnson & Johnson talcum powder to ovarian cancer is that the particles enter the body through the vagina and travel to the ovaries through the fallopian tubes.
This has been confirmed by scientists who have studied ovarian cancer cells. This research has often found talc particles embedded in the tumors.
One study compared women with ovarian cancer to those without it. The study then factored in talc powder usage and found that women who used baby powder were three times more likely to develop ovarian cancer.
Other studies have found increased risk of ovarian cancer, although to a lesser extent than the study mentioned above.
How Perineal Talc Causes Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a very rare form of cancer. While there are only several thousand new cases of it each year, mesothelioma is a highly deadly disease.
The average five-year survival rate is very low because it is often not diagnosed until it is at an advanced stage.
Mesothelioma patients contract the disease because they have had prolonged exposure to asbestos particles, and they have continuously breathed them into their lungs.
This causes chronic inflammation in the lining of the lungs, which eventually leads to cancer. Even though the talc use is in the genital area, the powder goes into the air that the consumer breathes, causing them to inhale asbestos.
Accordingly, while it may be rare, there is a definite possibility of developing mesothelioma after using talc powder.
Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder Has Been Recalled
Johnson & Johnson did everything that it could to deny the dangers of its own talcum powder. For years, it tried to encourage research studies that showed that the product was completely safe.
However, the FDA decided to conduct its own tests. The regulator simply ordered a random bottle of baby powder off of the internet to test it for asbestos. The samples came back positive.
This began the push for even further testing. Not every sample came back positive, but a number of them did. The final FDA report showed that nine of the 52 samples tested had some traces of asbestos.
This is enough to expose women and others who have used this product for decades to a heightened risk of cancer.
After decades of trying to stonewall and deny, Johnson & Johnson finally had to pull its talc powder off the market.
The company first tried to recall the affected lots before announcing that it would no longer sell this product in both the United States and Canada.
Just like that, a product that was associated for years with cleanliness was now out of existence because of the dangers that it caused. However, the talcum powder litigation is fully underway.
Many Women Have Filed Lawsuits
As of this writing, there are over 34,000 talc powder lawsuits open against Johnson & Johnson.
The company reports the number of cases in its SEC filing. This number increased by 14,000 since the prior filing. The talcum powder cases have been filed in both state and federal courts.
There is multidistrict litigation in federal court in New Jersey. Some of the larger verdicts thus far have been handed down by state juries.
Barring a global settlement, the Johnson & Johnson talcum powder legal saga will go on for years.
Johnson & Johnson Has Had a Mixed Record in Talcum Powder Lawsuits
J&J has been forced to answer for using a known carcinogen in its products for decades. Some of the initial jury reactions to the company’s conduct have been harsh.
The case that most observers talk about is the massive verdict that a jury awarded in Missouri. A group of 23 plaintiffs sued the company for their ovarian cancer and the failure to warn women of the dangers of talcum powder products.
The plaintiffs presented the evidence that showed that the company knew all along of the dangers and did everything it could to hide them. The response was a massive verdict that was intended to send the company a message.
The total award was over $4 billion. Much of it was punitive damages. This obviously brought a large amount of attention to the problems caused by asbestos-laced talcum powder.
There have been other cases that have made their way to a jury. In 2019, a Los Angeles jury ordered the company to pay $417 million in punitive damages after a woman claimed that the company failed to warn her of the risk of developing ovarian cancer.
The company managed to win a new trial. Another California jury hit a talc miner with a $4.8 million verdict for asbestos.
In February 2020, a New Jersey jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $750 million in punitive and compensatory damages to four women who developed ovarian cancer after using its baby powder.
To be clear, the company has won some cases in jury trials. However, there are some significant legal risks for J&J going forward.
The Supreme Court Has Left a Large Verdict in Place
Johnson & Johnson has done everything it can to fight jury verdicts and avoid paying for the harm that its talcum products have caused. The company has tried to appeal the Missouri jury verdict all the way up to the Supreme Court.
However, the court dealt the company a blow when it would not take up Johnson & Johnson’s appeal. This effectively left the verdict in place.
Even though the company did knock down the $4.69 billion verdict somewhat, it must still make a multi-billion dollar payment to the plaintiffs. This is a large price tag for a company that faces much more liability in the future.
Damages in Talc Products Lawsuits
If you win a talc powder lawsuit or receive a settlement, your payment should include the following damages:
- The cost of all past and future medical treatment
- Lost wages for time that you missed from work
- Wrongful death damages for the family if someone died from their cancer
- Emotional distress
- Possible punitive damages (this is why the verdicts in the jury trials have been so large, although you would not be able to receive punitive damages in a settlement)
Will Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Cases Settle?
With all of the cases in the talcum powder litigation, Johnson & Johnson simply cannot afford the legal risk that it faces if it keeps getting hit with punitive damages like it did by the St Louis jury.
One thing that comes to mind is the Roundup litigation, where Bayer had to agree to a massive settlement for over $10 billion because the company’s existence was at risk.
While J&J is a massive company, it may need to negotiate a global settlement at some point. Otherwise, news of these massive jury verdicts will continue to hurt its stock price.
Large mass tort cases like these where the company has lost several high-profile lawsuits usually will settle at some point.
While Johnson & Johnson is trying to play shell games in bankruptcy court to try to get out of paying for the damage it caused, the company has already set aside $4 billion to pay for future verdicts.
You simply cannot delay in filing your own talcum powder case.
Settlements for People Diagnosed with Mesothelioma
Most of the cases that have headed to court thus far have involved cases of ovarian cancer. Cases about developing mesothelioma have not yet made it to court.
The concept with mesothelioma is the same as it is with ovarian cancer. Oftentimes, asbestos related cases have resulted in several million in compensatory damages.
Mesothelioma cases seem to settle for more than cancer cases, in part because asbestos is involved and also due to the deadliness of the cancer. We predict that we will soon soon begin to see more talcum powder lawsuits connected to mesothelioma.
How You Can Receive a Talcum Powder Lawsuit Settlement
Your way to receive a settlement is to file a lawsuit against J&J and other companies that have made the talcum powder products that have injured you.
Cases must be filed within the statute of limitations for your state. You have a certain period of time (In Illinois, it is two years) after you have been injured or should have known you were injured to file a claim.
If you miss this window, you will lose your ability to file a talcum powder lawsuit if you have developed mesothelioma or ovarian cancer from talc powder use.
The Average Settlement for Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder Cases
Johnson & Johnson has not yet entered into a global settlement of the talcum powder lawsuits. There is a strong chance that it may in the future, depending on whether it continues to lose lawsuits.
Mass tort cases that have involved cancer diagnosis have traditionally resulted in settlement values between $200,000-$500,000. However, the average settlement is not what you may receive for your claim.
If Johnson & Johnson does settle these cases, there will be a large global settlement fund established. Then, you would submit your claim to the settlement administrator who will determine what you are due.
You do not have to accept the settlement. You can continue to file a lawsuit in court. You also cannot wait for the settlement because it might not happen.
Plaintiffs would need to file a talcum powder lawsuit within the statute of limitations.
News Reports of Settlements of Talcum Powder Lawsuits
In October 2020, there was a news report that Johnson & Johnson had agreed to settle 1,000 lawsuits for a total of $100 million. This works out to an average of $100,000 per claim.
There was no confirmation of the settlement from either side. There are still tens of thousands of lawsuits remaining, and the settlement number in this particular settlement (if true) appears to be on the lower end of damages for a talcum powder lawsuit.
Johnson & Johnson is currently trying a bold legal gambit to try to escape as much responsibility as possible for the harm caused by talcum powder.
The company has tried to spin the possible liabilities off to a subsidiary and have the subsidiary declare bankruptcy. Whether this works remains to be seen, but plaintiffs will fight this self-serving tactic meant solely to avoid paying for the damages caused by talcum powder.
This is yet another way to fight talcum powder lawsuits since juries have not seen things the same way as Johnson & Johnson.
How Is Your Talc Powder Settlement Calculated?
In a large global settlement, such as the one that may happen in talc products cases in the future, the settlement administrator would consider your own unique factors in making a settlement offer.
This is why it is not always possible to give you a more exact number on pages like this.
Here is some of what a settlement administrator may consider in your case:
- The strength of your overall talc powder lawsuit if you went to trial
- The extent of the damages that you have suffered
- Your age at the time that you were injured
- The amount of assets that the defendant has to settle your claim
How Talcum Powder Attorneys Can Help
After your free consultation, we will sit down with you and discuss the details of your case. At your free case evaluation, we will let you know about all of your legal options and begin our attorney client relationship.
We will help you prepare your claim and file it with the court. If your case does go to trial, we will argue it in front of the jury, showing why you deserve financial compensation after being sold a dangerous product that sickened you or a loved one.
You can and should file a talcum powder lawsuit if you have been injured.
Contact Our Law Firm if You Have Been Injured By Talc Use
If you or a loved one have contracted ovarian cancer or have been sickened by talc powder, you need legal advice immediately.
The attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can help you. We are experienced attorneys with a track record of fighting hard for our clients when they have been injured by a product that they trusted.
Call us today at (800) 424-5757 or fill out a contact form to schedule your free initial consultation to discuss your talcum powder lawsuit.