Update: New York Mesothelioma Patient Awarded $120 Million in Damages

A federal judge in Manhattan has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $120 million in damages to a Brooklyn woman who developed advanced stage mesothelioma after using the company’s Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower for decades, according to Reuters. The payout includes $15 million in compensatory damages and $105 million in punitive damages, down from an original $25 million and $300 million, respectively. Plaintiff Donna Olson claimed that J&J was “knowingly deceitful about” or “willfully blind to” potential health risks of its talc products for many years in an attempt to maximize profits and market share.

Free Confidential Case Evaluation: If you or a loved one was diagnosed with cancer after using talcum powder, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit and our lawyers can help.

What’s the Problem?

Talc, a mineral that absorbs moisture and reduces friction, has been used as a cosmetic powder for thousands of years. It is still available in numerous body powders, though some companies have switched to cornstarch and other substitutes since talcum powder was linked to serious health risks.

Studies have suggested that the side effects of talcum powder may increase a user’s risk of developing ovarian cancer, a disease that occurs in the female organs that produce eggs (ovaries). Although it appears that Johnson & Johnson and other manufacturers knew — or should have known — about the link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer, these companies have failed to adequately warn the public about this risk.

Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer

Studies dating back decades have found that talcum powder can contribute to cancer in the ovaries if the substance enters the body through the vagina. One review of data reported in Cancer Prevention Research in 1971 indicated that women who regularly use talc-containing products for feminine hygiene increase their risk of ovarian cancer by approximately 41%.

Following this study, additional research has surfaced pointing to the link between talc and ovarian cancer. A 1992 study found that regular use of baby powder increased the risk of ovarian cancer 3-fold. In 2010, a Harvard study concluded that talc in baby powder was carcinogenic (cancer-causing) in humans. However, despite the mounting studies linking talcum powder to cancer, products containing the substance have remained on the market unregulated and without any warning from manufacturers.

Ovarian Cancer Symptoms

According to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, ovarian cancer typically causes few if any recognizable symptoms in its early stages. As a result, the disease is often not detected until it reaches an advanced stage. When they do appear, however, symptoms of ovarian cancer may include:

  • Persistent abdominal bloating, indigestion or nausea
  • Changes in appetite, often a loss of appetite or feeling full sooner
  • Feelings of pressure in the pelvis or lower back
  • Needing to urinate more frequently
  • Changes in bowel movements
  • Increased abdominal girth
  • Feeling tired or low energy

J&J to Stop Selling Talc-Based Baby Powder in U.S., Canada

Amid thousands of lawsuits alleging that its talcum powder products contain asbestos, Johnson & Johnson has announced that it will halt sales of its talc-based baby powder in the U.S. and Canada, according to CBS News. J&J added that although its baby powder has been discontinued in the U.S. and Canada, existing inventory will still be sold. The powder will continue to be sold in other countries, where “there is significantly higher consumer demand,” the company said.

CA Jury Rules Plaintiff’s Mesothelioma Caused by J&J Talcum powder

March 20, 2019 – A California woman who says Johnson’s Baby Powder and other similar talc-containing products caused her to develop mesothelioma was recently awarded $29 million by a jury in Oakland. J&J says it will appeal the judgment. The 12 jurors found that J&J and onetime talc supplier Cyprus Mines Corp. were both at fault and responsible for plaintiff’s injuries.

Judge Upholds Record $4.7 Billion Talcum Powder Cancer Verdict

December 27, 2018 – Johnson & Johnson’s attempt to have a landmark $4.7 billion verdict overturned has been shot down by a judge in St. Louis Circuit Court, who sided with a group of female plaintiffs claiming the company’s Baby Powder contributed to their development of ovarian cancer. In his written ruling, St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison cited evidence of what he called “particularly reprehensible conduct” by J&J, writing that “defendants knew of the presence of asbestos in products that they knowingly targeted for sale to mothers and babies, knew of the damage their products caused, and misrepresented the safety of these products for decades.”

J&J Ordered to Pay $37 Million in Talcum Powder Mesothelioma Lawsuit

Talcum Powder LawsuitApril 6, 2018 – A New Jersey state jury has ruled against J&J and one of its talc suppliers, Imery Talc America, Inc., in a lawsuit filed by a man with mesothelioma, awarding him $37 million in compensatory damages after determining that his use of talcum powder caused the cancer.

California Woman Awarded Record $417 Million in Talc Cancer Lawsuit

August 22, 2017 – A Los Angeles jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a record $417 million to a woman who developed ovarian cancer after using the company’s Baby Powder for more than 4 decades. The $417 million award included $68 million in compensatory damages and $340 million in punitive damages.

First Talcum Powder Cancer Trial Begins in California

July 11, 2017 – The first California lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson bringing allegations of ovarian cancer from the company’s talc-containing Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower has kicked off in the Superior Court of California for Los Angeles County. Judge Maren Nelson has convened a 5-day “Sargon” hearing this week where parties argue over which expert witnesses will be permitted to testify in a trial.

J&J Ordered to Pay $110 Million in 5th St. Louis Talc Cancer Lawsuit

May 5, 2017 – A Missouri state court jury has awarded more than $110 million to a woman who claimed she developed ovarian cancer after using Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower body powder for decades, marking the largest verdict to date in 5 trials. Jurors deliberated for just over a day following the 3 week trial, awarding 62-year-old Lois Slemp $5.4 million in compensatory damages and $105 million in punitive damages. Imerys Talc America, the company that supplied the talc to J&J, was also ordered to pay $50,000 in punitive damages.

5th Talcum Powder Cancer Lawsuit Headed for Trial in St. Louis

March 29, 2017 – The fifth in a series of lawsuits alleging ovarian cancer from Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products is gearing up for trial in the 22nd Circuit Court in St. Louis, Missouri. The most recent complaint was filed on behalf of Lois Slemp, who allegedly developed ovarian cancer after using Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower body powder. Slemp claims her cancer is now in stage III(c), and that she has suffered a recurrence and metastasis to her liver. Her lawsuit has been pushed forward as a result of her declining health.

Talc Ovarian Cancer Lawsuit Filed in California

February 14, 2017 – A 94-year-old California woman who was allegedly diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower has filed a product liability lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson. Plaintiff Frances Escobedo claims she was diagnosed with cancer in 2013 after using J&J’s talc products her whole life. As a result of her diagnosis, she was forced to undergo chemotherapy and radical life-saving surgeries.

J&J Loses Bid to Transfer St. Louis Baby Powder Lawsuits

February 9, 2017 – The Missouri Supreme Court has denied a request by Johnson & Johnson to move thousands of talcum powder cancer lawsuits out a St. Louis state court. J&J had hoped for a change of venue after suffering 3 costly defeats in St. Louis totaling nearly $200 million.

Texas Man Alleges Wife’s Ovarian Cancer Death from Johnson’s Baby Powder

December 20, 2016 – A Texas man has filed a products liability lawsuit against J&J alleging that the company’s talcum powder products caused the death of his wife from ovarian cancer. According to the lawsuit, Mary Ann Witherspoon was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in June 2014, and died from the disease that November. Mary’s husband Marcus is blaming the death on her prolonged exposure to Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower.

Talc Cancer Lawsuit Filed in West Virginia

November 28, 2016 – The daughter of a West Virginia woman who died from ovarian cancer after using Johnson’s Baby Powder for decades has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against J&J. According to the lawsuit, Ann Christine “Chris” Underwood died on March 21 at the age of 66, after using baby powder for feminine hygiene for nearly a half-century. The complaint was filed last week in U.S. District Court in Clarksburg, West Virginia, by Amy Darnold, Underwood’s daughter.

California Jury Awards $18M in Talcum Powder Mesothelioma Lawsuit

November 8, 2016 – A jury in Los Angeles has returned an $18.07 million verdict against talc supplier Whittaker Clark & Daniels for its role in causing a man’s development of mesothelioma. According to the lawsuit, plaintiff Phillip Depoian was diagnosed with both peritoneal and pleural mesothelioma in May 2015 after years of using a variety of talc-containing cosmetic products including Old Spice, Clubman, King’s Men and Mennen Shave Talc. The verdict is believed to be the largest award on record for a lawsuit alleging mesothelioma from cosmetic talc exposure.

California Woman Awarded $70M in Talcum Powder Lawsuit

November 1, 2016 – A St. Louis jury has awarded $70 million in damages to Deborah Giannecchini, who developed stage IV ovarian cancer after using Johnson’s Baby Powder on her genitals for decades. The award marks the third costly defeat in a row for J&J in lawsuits alleging cancer from its talc-based hygiene products.

New Talcum Powder Lawsuit Filed in St. Louis

October 3, 2016 – Johnson & Johnson is facing yet another lawsuit in a St. Louis court alleging that the talc in its baby powder caused a woman to develop ovarian cancer, according to FOX News. Plaintiff Deborah Giannecchini of Modesto, California, accuses J&J of “negligent conduct” in making and marketing the product. If J&J loses a third straight multi-million dollar verdict in St. Louis, it could force the healthcare giant into settlement negotiations.

Baby Powder Cancer Lawsuit Filed in California

July 21, 2016 – A California woman who allegedly developed uterine cancer after using Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products has filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer. Plaintiff Dolores Gould claims she was diagnosed with uterine cancer in 2006 as the result of her prolonged use of Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower. Gould holds J&J responsible because the company allegedly failed to provide adequate warnings about the risk of applying talcum powder to the genital area even after a study had found that it could cause cancer.

St. Louis Jury Awards $55M in 2nd Talcum Powder Cancer Lawsuit

May 3, 2016 – For the second time in 3 months, a St. louis jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a massive award over claims the company’s talc-based hygiene products cause ovarian cancer. According to the lawsuit, Plaintiff Gloria Ristesund used J&J’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower Powder on her genitals for decades, resulting in her development of ovarian cancer which required a hysterectomy and related surgeries to treat. Ristesund was awarded $5 million in compensatory damages and $55 million in punitive damages.

Jury Awards $72 Million in St. Louis Talcum Powder Lawsuit

February 22, 2016 – A St. Louis jury has ordered J&J to pay $72 million to the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer after using talc-containing products including Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder and Shower to Shower body powder, according to Bloomberg News. Plaintiff Jackie Fox’s attorneys were able to prove that the talc in these products not only presented a danger to her health, but that J&J was aware of the risks and not only chose to hide them from consumers, but actively hid them. After the verdict was announced, jury foreman Krista Smith stated “It was really clear they {Johnson & Johnson} were hiding something.”

Talcum Powder and Uterine Cancer

A 2010 study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention found that talcum powder increased the risk of uterine cancer by 24%. Researchers looked at 66,028 female nurses between 1982 and 2004, and found 599 cases of endometrial cancer — cancer that develops in the endometrium, the inner lining of the uterus — during that time.

The women’s personal hygiene routines were studied and it was determined that women who had ever used talcum powder on the genital area in their lifetime increased their risk of the disease by 21% compared with women who had never used it. Those women who used it at least once per week increased their risk by 24% and the risk increased the more often the product was used. This link was particularly strong among post-menopausal women.

“Several studies have reported a positive association between perineal use of talcum powder among adult women and ovarian cancer risk,” the researchers wrote. “Our results suggest that perineal talcum powder use increases the risk of endometrial cancer, particularly among postmenopausal women.”

Uterine Cancer Symptoms

According to the American Cancer Society, signs and symptoms of endometrial (uterine) cancer include:

  • Abnormal vaginal discharge (even with no traces of blood)
  • Pain in the pelvic area (which often occurs in more advanced stages)
  • A mass in the pelvic area
  • Unexpected weight loss

Jury Finds Colgate-Palmolive Guilty in Talcum Powder Mesothelioma Lawsuit

On April 29, 2015, a Los Angeles Jury returned a $13 million verdict against the Colgate-Palmolive Co., in favor of Judith and John Winkel. The jury ruled that the company’s Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder was responsible for causing Mrs. Winkle to develop mesothelioma. The verdict marks the first ever against Colgate-Palmolive for asbestos exposure from talcum powder.

According to the lawsuit, Judy used Cashmere Bouquet nearly every day from 1961 to 1976. “I love that fragrance,” Winkel said. “It was just light, floral fragrance.” Unfortunately, this seemingly innocent daily indulgence would cause her to develop cancer nearly 4 decades later.

Colgate-Palmolive made Cashmere Bouquet from the 1930s to 1995, according to the lawsuit. Up until 1985, the company sourced talc from 3 different mines that were documented as containing asbestos as early as the 1940s. Colgate-Palmolive’s own tests later confirmed that the talc was contaminated with asbestos, but it never passed this information on to either the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) or consumers.

“This trial was about accountability,” said John “Cubby” Winkel, Judy’s husband. “Colgate made a dangerous product but they refused to admit it.”

What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma, or malignant mesothelioma, is a cancer of the mesothelial cells, most often occurring in the lining that covers the lungs (pleura). Mesothelial cells exist in the lining (membrane) that covers the outer surface of the body’s organs. Most people diagnosed with mesothelioma have been exposed to asbestos at some time in their life.

Mesothelioma Symptoms

Mesothelioma is a difficult cancer to diagnose because the time from initial exposure to diagnosis can range anywhere from 20 to 50 years. In most cases, signs of mesothelioma do not present until the disease has progressed to its terminal stages. When they do present, symptoms may include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Pleural effusion
  • Anemia
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Blood clotting disorder
  • Chest pain
  • Weight loss

Lawsuit Allegations

It appears that inadequate warnings were provided about the potential health risks associated with talcum powder. Our lawyers are currently reviewing potential lawsuits for women who were diagnosed with any stage of ovarian cancer after using the following products:

Lawsuits allege that J&J and other manufacturers placed their desire for profits before consumer safety by withholding information about the potential cancer risk from consumers for years.

Do I Have a Talcum Powder Lawsuit?

The Product Liability Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Talcum Powder Lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new cancer cases in all 50 states.

Free Confidential Case Evaluation: Again, if you or a loved one was diagnosed with cancer after using talcum powder, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit and our lawyers can help.

FREE Confidential Case Evaluation

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