Yesterday, a California jury returned a verdict against Johnson & Johnson in the amount of $417 million, ending a four week bellweather trial that marks the first case tried to verdict against Johnson & Johnson in which it was alleged that the company’s talcum powder products caused a woman’s ovarian cancer. The jury awarded the plaintiff, Eva Echevarria, $70 million in compensatory damages and $347 million in punitive damage.

The case (Eva Echeverria v. Johnson & Johnson, number BC628228, in the Superior Court of California for Los Angeles County) involved a woman who claimed that she developed ovarian cancer from the use of Johnson & Johnson’s talc-containing Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower products. Prior to the California trial, the talc litigation’s trials all took place in St. Louis, Missouri. Five cases went to verdict, with four in favor of plaintiffs and one in favor of Johnson & Johnson. However, two rulings by the United States Supreme Court in June of 2017 place in jeopardy many claims pending in Missouri since the plaintiffs do not reside in that state. Many legal observers now believe that California will become the next “hotbed” for talcum powder claims, as plaintiffs in these cases more commonly reside in California, which means that their cases are not in jeopardy of being dismissed. Yesterday’s verdict will only heighten the interest in bringing talc cases in California.

The plaintiffs’ claims against Johnson & Johnson and talc suppliers argue that talc-containing products caused them to develop ovarian cancer. Their attorneys allege that Johnson & Johnson knew its products caused ovarian cancer, but failed to provide warning labels or otherwise discontinue the use of talc in its products. The defendants maintain that studies linking talc to ovarian cancer are based on flawed science, and they note that numerous regulatory agencies have declined to require warning labels on talc-containing products.

The attorneys at CMBG3 Law LLC have represented clients in talc, products liability, and toxic tort matters for many years. We provide the most current advice by staying informed of legal, scientific and medical developments regarding a wide variety of substances and products, including talc-containing products, used by consumers every day. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact John Gardella (email him or 617-936-4353).