Another Baby Powder Verdict

Photo credit: Au Kirk via Foter.com / CC BY

This past week another jury, this time in California, found that Johnson & Johnson baby powder was responsible for causing a lady’s ovarian cancer. The verdict was for $417 million dollars. This verdict follows a Missouri verdict for $110 million dollars and two other Missouri verdicts for $55 million dollars and $72 million dollars.

The facts in the California case were that the 63 year old Plaintiff had used the baby powder for feminine hygiene purposes for decades.

The evidence in the case included medical studies dating back to 1971 which linked talc, the naturally occurring clay mineral used to make the powder, to ovarian and cervical tumors.

Johnson & Johnson has appealed all of the verdicts and says it will continue to defend all of the thousands of cases filed against it.

Scientists have long hypothesized that talc might lead to cancer because the crystals can move up the genitourinary tract into the peritoneal cavity, where the ovaries are, and may set off inflammation, which is believed to play an important role in the development of ovarian cancer.

In prior blogs I have mentioned that some judges have ruled that the scientific evidence linking talc to cancer is not strong enough to allow cases to proceed to jury trial. However, the trend is now clear that whenever juries are allowed to hear all the scientific evidence from both sides, they believe there is a strong link and find for the cancer victim.

Furthermore, the verdicts have been exceedingly large. The amounts of the verdicts reflect sympathy for those dying with cancer and anger with Johnson & Johnson. This means to me that juries are hearing evidence to the effect that Johnson & Johnson has known of the risks for a very long time and consciously failed to warn its customers.