Have you or your loved one been diagnosed with fallopian, ovarian or peritoneal cancer after using baby products by Johnson & Johnson? If so, you may be entitled to legal compensation. With the help of an experienced California talcum powder lawyer, you can file for talcum powder lawsuit compensation. Here is what you need to know about the talcum powder lawsuit and how our attorneys at Nadrich & Cohen can help ease your case.
What is the Talcum Powder Lawsuit?
A talcum powder lawsuit is a claim that baby powder manufacturers, such as Johnson & Johnson, knew that their talc was contaminated by asbestos and was linked to cancer, yet failed to warn consumers. Johnson & Johnson is the main defendant in a mass tort litigation and class action lawsuit.
What is Talcum Powder?
Talcum powder is a soft white powder made from talc – a mineral mainly consisting of oxygen, silicon and magnesium. In its powder form, talcum powder absorbs moisture, works as a deodorant and reduces friction, resulting in dry skin and preventing rashes.
It is commonly used in cosmetics and consumer products, like baby powder, as well as adult and facial powder. Unfortunately, in its natural form, talcum powder contains asbestos, a substance known to cause cancer.
Talcum Powder History
Below is a brief history of talc and its discovery as a safety hazard.
1930s: Talc’s harmful effects on human tissues are first recorded.
1971: Researchers discovered talc particles in 75% of ovarian tumors they examined.
1973: The FDA requires talcum powder to be asbestos-free by law.
1980s: Reports show that the accidental inhalation of baby powder by infants can result in serious illness or death.
1992: Research discovers that regular application of talcum powder to a female’s genital areas increases the risks of developing ovarian cancer.
1993: The National Toxicology Program reports that cosmetic talc can cause animal tumors.
2003: An anti-cancer research journal publishes a large-scale review of different reviews, claiming a 33% increased risk of ovarian cancer with long-term usage of talcum powder-based products.
2013: Deane Berg won a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson after the company failed to warn consumers of the risk of developing ovarian cancer caused by talcum powder-based products.
2018: On December 5, Health Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada issued a warning that talc in cosmetics and natural health products (such as genital deodorants, body wipes, body and foot powders, and face powders) poses a possible risk of ovarian cancer and lung effects.
On December 14, Reuters published an exposé revealing that Johnson & Johnson knew for decades that raw talc, as well as finished powders in talcum powder-based products, contained cancer-causing asbestos.
On December 20, Senator Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts), a U.S. Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee member, called on the FDA to investigate Reuters’ allegations against Johnson & Johnson.
2019: In February, Johnson & Johnson’s supplier, Imerys Talc America, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to secure itself from the over 14,000 pending lawsuits alleging ovarian cancer side effects after using its talc.
In March 2019, the FDA issued a statement confirming reports that talc-containing makeup products sold by Claire’s and Justice for Tweens tested positive for asbestos. While Justice recalled its products, Claire’s failed to do so. In response, the FDA issued a safety alert, warning consumers not to use Claire’s products due to increased asbestos exposure.
In October 2019, Johnson & Johnson issued a recall of about 33,000 bottles of the baby powder after testing by the FDA discovered chrysotile fibers in the products.
2020: On April 27, the judge overseeing the talc federal MDL in the Daubert hearings ruled that the scientific and medical experts proposed by the plaintiff’s steering committee were qualified to testify in proving the link between ovarian cancer and genital talc usage. This ruling paved a path for future bellwether trials in multidistrict kitigation.
On May 19 2020, Johnson & Johnson announced that it would discontinue the sale of its talc-containing Johnson’s baby powder in Canada and the US due to lagging sales and unending lawsuits alleging a link between the products and ovarian cancer.
What Are the Side Effects of Talcum Powder?
Over the last four decades, questions and concerns about talcum powder’s safety and side effects have been raised. The first records of the harmful side effects of talc were in the 1930s.
Talcum powder side effects include:
- Respiratory issues; infants who inhale talcum powder can experience fast and shallow breathing, wheezing, and potentially acute or chronic lung irritation
- Pain and discomfort
- Bloating and abdomen inflammation
- Pelvic pain
- Increased urination
- Changes in appetite
How Does Talcum Powder Cause Cancer?
Studies dating as far back as the 1970s have linked talcum powder usage in women’s genital areas to ovarian cancer. The talc particles can travel via the vagina and into the uterus along the fallopian tube to the ovaries.
Once there, these particles can remain lodged for up to eight years, thus increasing the risk of long-term side effects. Over time, the talc particles can cause inflammation, leading to the formation of cancerous cells.
Dr. Daniel W. Cramer compared 215 women with ovarian cancer with 215 women without ovarian cancer. Together with his colleagues, they discovered that women who used talcum powder were at almost twice the risk of developing ovarian cancer compared to the non-users. Those who used talcum powder on their genitals and sanitary pads regularly were at more than thrice the risk.
Owing to his expertise, Dr. Cramer has testified as a paid expert in lawsuits against several talcum-powder manufacturers. During a 2016 trial involving Johnson & Johnson, he testified that about 10,000 women might develop ovarian cancer yearly due to talcum powder.
How Common is the Use of Talcum Powder?
Talcum powder is a popular ingredient in most cosmetics. It is widely used on babies, children and adults to address issues such as diaper rash. Some women have used talcum powder in their genital areas for hygiene purposes.
One of the leading cosmetics brands using talcum powder in their product is Johnson & Johnson. Johnson & Johnson continues to be top-ranked among global biotech and pharmaceutical companies.
In 2020 alone, over 43 million Americans used Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder. Despite the move to cease the supply of talc-based baby powder, thousands and possibly millions of people have already been exposed to the side effects of this mineral.
Is Johnson & Johnson Responsible for Talcum Powder’s Side Effects?
As the main defendant in talcum powder lawsuits, Johnson & Johnson knew their product contained cancer-causing asbestos as early as the 1960s. In addition, since at least 1982, the manufacturer knew (or should have known) the link between talcum powder products and ovarian cancer.
Despite the obvious awareness, Johnson & Johnson failed to warn the public and consumers of the product’s potential side effects. This appeared to be a move focused more on profit and less on consumer safety. As a result, Johnson & Johnson has found itself at the center of multiple talcum powder lawsuits.
In response, Johnson & Johnson withdrew the talcum powder-based baby powder product from the US and Canada markets in May 2020. Furthermore, the company has set aside over $4 billion to cover settlements, verdicts and other legal expenses.
What Are the Grounds for a Talcum Powder Lawsuit?
Possible grounds to find Johnson & Johnson liable in a talcum powder lawsuit include:
Products and drug manufacturers can be found liable for damages their products cause if the products are defective and dangerous by design. Asbestos – a common carcinogen – can be found in talc mines.
In addition, the FDA has openly stated that they discovered asbestos in products containing talcum powder in 2019. According to scientific knowledge, external application of talcum powder to the female genital area can store the powder in the ovaries for several years.
In 1971, researchers discovered talc in ovarian tumors. Additional studies published in 1982, 1992, and 2011 have linked the external usage of talcum powder on a woman’s genital areas to the increased risk of ovarian cancer development.
Talcum powder products, such as Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder, contain asbestos by design. The process used to remove asbestos from talc is defective and inadequate by design since the FDA discovered asbestos in talcum powder products. As such, these products are defective and harmful by design, making the manufacturers liable.
Failure to Warn
Manufacturers can be found strictly liable for damages their products caused if they knew or should have known their product was dangerous but failed to warn of the danger. Unfortunately for Johnson & Johnson, an internal memo dated to the 1960s stated that talc products manufactured by the brand contained asbestos.
Is the Talcum Powder Lawsuit A Class Action Suit?
Over 37,000 individual talcum powder cases have been filed countrywide and consolidated into the Talcum Powder Multidistrict Litigation (MDL).
Can I Join the Talcum Powder Class Action Lawsuit?
The majority of product liability lawsuits are individual cases. However, there have been some class action lawsuits against talcum powder-based product manufacturers like Johnson & Johnson.
Some claims have been consolidated into MDL cases. A personal injury lawyer at Nadrich & Cohen can review your case and advise the best legal options based on your case facts, precedence, and active litigation when filing your lawsuit.
Where Are the Talcum Powder Lawsuits Taking Place?
Most talcum powder lawsuits have been consolidated into multidistrict litigation cases, meaning most claims are being handled by a single court. Currently, four specific courts are handling talcum powder cases. These include:
- Federal Court, U.S. District of New Jersey
- State Court, Los Angeles Superior Court in California
- State Court, Atlantic County in New Jersey
- State Court, St. Louis Circuit Court in Missouri.
The US District of New Jersey consolidated 20,000 Johnson & Johnson cases resulting in a lawsuit backlog. In Atlantic County in New Jersey, Judge Nelson C. Johnson initially denied expert testimony from different women filing claims against Johnson & Johnson. This was later revised, allowing the claimants an opportunity for their voices to be heard in New Jersey State Court.
You don’t need to worry if you don’t live in one of the states where the MDL cases are being heard. Regardless, you can still be eligible to file your suit. Cases filed after the formation of the MDL are typically transferred to the court, where talcum powder cases are being heard for pretrial motions and discovery. An experienced attorney can work with you every step of the way to ensure you file your suit appropriately.
Recent Talcum Powder Lawsuit Updates
Johnson & Johnson and other talcum powder manufacturers have seen plenty of scrutiny in the months and years following the first talcum powder lawsuits. Due to the increased attention, Johnson & Johnson has become the subject of national interest.
Below is a summary of the key Johnson & Johnson updates since the start of the first talcum powder lawsuit:
In May 2020, Johnson & Johnson voluntarily ceased the sale of talcum powder-based products in the US and Canada. The company cited reasons such as changes in consumer habits, the constant barrage of litigation advertising, and misinformation around the product’s safety.
In October 2020, Johnson & Johnson made headlines with settlement agreements ($100 million to resolve 1,000 cases). At the time, the company maintained the safety of their products, confident that they don’t contain asbestos and don’t cause cancer.
In February 2021, the accused company, faced with over 25,000 lawsuits, reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission that they set aside roughly $4 billion for litigation expenses. Despite this move, Johnson & Johnson still chose to defend the safety of its products.
In July 2021, the National Council of Negro Women filed a suit against Johnson & Johnson, claiming that its marketing targeted black women more than other demographics.
In August 2021, Johnson & Johnson sought to separate its business accounts from its talc-related liabilities, having been overwhelmed with the growing number of lawsuits.
In October 2021, Johnson & Johnson faced over 40,000 lawsuits regarding its talcum powder-based products. It announced that it would explore Chapter 11 bankruptcy to dispose of some of these cases.
In March 2022, a federal appeals court rejected an attempt by Johnson & Johnson to use chapter 11 bankruptcy to avoid liability in talc lawsuits.
Who Can I Sue in A Talcum Powder Lawsuit?
Talcum powder-based product manufacturers, distributors, retailers and brands have all been named and sued in lawsuits successfully. Companies named as defendants in talcum powder lawsuits include:
- Johnson & Johnson
- Vanderbilt Minerals
- Whittaker, Clark & Daniels
- Imerys Talc North America
- Gold Bond Extra Strength Body Powder
- Gold Bond No Mess Powder Spray
- Gold Bond Body Powder
- Johnson’s Baby Powder
- Shower to Shower
- Old Spice powder
Talcum powder suppliers such as Walmart, Target, Walgreens, and CVS have also been subjects of a Talcum powder lawsuit. Based on the information you provide, your personal injury lawyer can advise on who to sue in a talcum powder lawsuit.
Who is Eligible to File A Talcum Powder Lawsuit?
Individuals who’ve developed ovarian cancer or any complications from commercial or cosmetic talcum powder products can be eligible to file a talcum powder lawsuit. A lawyer will need to demonstrate a link between your regular talcum powder usage and ovarian cancer.
Your eligibility to file a talcum powder lawsuit will depend on creating and proving a link between the talcum powder brand you used and your ovarian cancer. It may also depend on whether your case falls within the statute of limitations.
Hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you prove a direct link between your talcum powder usage and the side effects. Proving this direct link can make you eligible to file a talcum powder lawsuit.
How Does A Lawyer Establish Your Eligibility to File A Talcum Powder Lawsuit?
An experienced personal injury attorney knows what to look for in a case to determine eligibility. Below are the top questions you can expect your lawyer to ask to determine eligibility to file a talcum powder lawsuit:
- How long did you use the talcum powder?
- How did you use the talcum powder?
- When were you diagnosed with ovarian cancer?
- Have you been diagnosed with any other diseases?
Your personal injury lawyer will ask you to provide medical records to prove a cancer diagnosis.
How Do You Qualify for Talcum Powder Lawsuit?
You can qualify for a suit against talcum powder manufacturers under strict circumstances. You must meet the following criteria to be eligible for a talcum powder lawsuit:
- You must have used Johnson & Johnson’s Shower to Shower talcum powder or Baby Powder in the genital area for over four years continuously.
- You must have received an ovarian cancer, endometrioid ovarian cancer, or mesothelioma diagnosis.
- You must have used talcum powder before menopause.
- You must have been diagnosed in 2009 or later.
Your talcum powder lawsuit attorney can help you determine if you qualify for a talcum powder lawsuit.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Talcum Powder Lawsuit?
The specific statute of limitations depends partly on the victim’s residing state. The statute of limitations in most states is two years to file a suit in a product liability case. It can vary from 2 to 10 years in different states.
As such, you have two years from when you discovered or should have discovered the connection between your diagnosed ovarian cancer and talcum powder-based product usage. Your personal injury attorney can help you file your talcum powder lawsuit on time to avoid being locked out by the statute of limitations.
How Long Does A Talcum Powder Lawsuit Take?
Product liability cases can take months, even years, to settle. The time it will take your talcum powder lawsuit to settle will vary greatly on your case facts and the legal team’s litigation strategy. While some talcum powder lawsuits will be resolved in a year or less, some can take several years before settlement.
Have There Been Successful Settlements from A Talcum Powder Lawsuit?
Since the first talcum powder lawsuit (2009-2013) by Deane Berg against Johnson & Johnson, there have been multiple other settlements awarded to claimants in different talcum powder lawsuits. Deane Berg received a $1.3 million settlement offer from Johnson & Johnson, which she declined. However, in 2013, she was granted a unanimous verdict against Johnson & Johnson, but without compensation.
Other successful settlements in the talcum powder lawsuits include:
$4.69 Billion Verdict
In July 2018, a jury in St. Louis awarded $4.69 billion in compensatory and punitive damages to 22 plaintiffs. These included the families of six women who perished before the 6-week trial. Despite Johnson & Johnson’s attempt to overturn the verdict, the court upheld the verdict.
$417 Million Jury Verdict
Eva Echeverria’s case is considered the largest single verdict in the first California trial in August 2017. She had used Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder and Shower to Shower for over 40 years.
The jury awarded Eva $417 million. A month after winning the trial, Eva died from ovarian cancer. Unfortunately, in October of the same year, California Superior Court Judge Maren Nelson overturned the verdict, stating the lack of convincing evidence that Johnson & Johnson acted with malice. Eva’s lawyers are still appealing this decision to date.
$110 Million Jury Verdict
A St. Louis jury awarded $110 million in punitive and compensatory damages to Lois Slemp in May 2017. Lois Slemp alleged that Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder-based products caused her ovarian cancer, having used Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower body powder for over 40 years.
$72 Million Jury Verdict
Jacqueline Fox was the first woman to win an ovarian cancer verdict against Johnson & Johnson. Before dying, she stated that she had used Johnson & Johnson’s products containing talcum powder for over 35 years. A St. Louis jury awarded her family $72 million.
$70 Million Jury Verdict
A jury ruled in favor of Deborah Giannecchini in October 2016. The jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $70 million and the co-defendant, Imerys Talc America, Inc., to pay $2.5 million. The defendant had used Johnson & Johnson’s powder on her genital areas for over 40 years, with her lawyers predicting an 80% chance of her dying within the next two years in 2016.
$55 Million Verdict
Gloria Ristesund, from South Dakota, filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer following decades of using the company’s talcum powder-based products. In May 2016, the Missouri state court awarded Gloria $50 million in punitive damages and $5 million in compensatory damages.
What is the Average Payout for the Talcum Powder Lawsuit?
Currently, it is still early to accurately predict the average settlement compensation payouts of talcum powder lawsuits. Previously, Johnson & Johnson paid out $100,000,000 to settle a group of about a thousand cases, working out to about an average of $100,000 per case.
Fortunately, the value of a mass tort claim seldom goes down with subsequent settlements. As such, the likely average payout for a talcum powder lawsuit may be higher. Your payout for your talcum powder lawsuit will depend on your case facts and the evidence you provide to support your claim.
What Damages Can I Sue for In a Talcum Powder Lawsuit?
You can sue talcum powder manufacturers to receive compensation for losses you suffered or are likely to suffer due to the side effects of using talcum powder (such as cancer). The intent of a product liability lawsuit is to restore your life to its state before the talc-induced illness or condition.
However, while it may be impossible to fully return to normal, the compensation you receive can help you take care of financial constraints arising from the talcum powder-induced condition.
You can claim both economic and non-economic damages in a talcum powder lawsuit.
Economic damages are tangible and include all the monetary expenses you incurred due to the talcum powder side effects. Examples include:
- Lost income
- Medical expenses
- Home modifications
- Replacement costs
- Assistive mobility devices
Non-economic damages are less quantifiable than economic damages and will cover the emotional, psychological, and mental losses resulting from the talcum powder side effects. Non-economic damages you can file for in a talcum powder suit include:
- Loss of consortium (loss of emotional support, loss of companionship, loss of affection, and loss of sexual relations).
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
In some cases, there can be significantly more non-economic damages than economic damages. A personal injury lawyer can help you evaluate your claim to determine the damages you are entitled to and the value of the damages.
How Do I File A Talcum Powder Lawsuit?
If you or your loved ones have developed cancer and/or other side effects from talcum powder-based products, you can be eligible to file a suit. However, filing a talcum powder lawsuit can be hectic and time-consuming.
Contact an experienced talcum powder lawsuit lawyer with your case specifics to file a suit. The lawyer will investigate your claim and advise you on the best way forward.
How A Talcum Powder Lawsuit Attorney Can Help You
Our California talcum powder lawsuit attorneys at Nadrich & Cohen have decades of experience representing clients in mass tort claims, such as talcum powder lawsuits. Handling such a lawsuit can be overwhelming. Here is how our personal injury lawyers can help you with your talcum powder lawsuit:
- Inquire about your case specifics.
- Investigate your claim. Our lawyers analyze every aspect of your claim to ensure your eligibility and estimate the possible settlement amounts.
- Advise you accordingly.
- Provide proper legal representation in court.
Our talcum powder lawsuit attorneys will investigate your claim on a contingency fee basis. This means you won’t have to pay any out-of-pocket expenses, fees or costs until you obtain a recovery.
Call us today to schedule a free consultation and file your talcum powder lawsuit.