Thousands of women who developed mesothelioma or ovarian cancer after extended use of talcum powder products have filed a talcum powder lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson alleging that it knew about the dangers of talc and failed to warn them.
Recently, a jury in Oakland, California awarded 35-year-old Christina Prudencio $26.5 million for pain and suffering, plus another $100,000 in punitive damages in her talcum powder lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson. There has also been a $2 billion verdict that has made it past the appellate process.
In this post, we will take a brief look at the story behind the talcum powder litigation and discuss the details of the case that resulted in this recent verdict. First, let’s get you updated on the very latest in the baby powder lawsuits.
February 2023 Talc Powder Lawsuit Update
The talc powder litigation is back up and running. The 3rd Circuit earlier this month rejected J&J’s effort to offload tens of thousands of lawsuits over its baby powder products into a Texas bankruptcy court. The stay will be lifted and trials will resume with a new MDL class action judge.
February 2022 Talc Powder Lawsuit Update
J&J is attempting to sever its ongoing liability for the talcum powder cancer lawsuits by utilizing a controversial bankruptcy process known as a “Texas two-step.” If J&J is allowed to move forward with this process, it would only have to pay $2 billion into a trust fund to resolve all present and future talcum powder claims and the company would have no future liability for the litigation. Plaintiffs’ baby powder lawyers are hoping the court sees this nonsense for what it is. These attorneys have asked the bankruptcy court to dismiss the case. The judge is set to rule on the issue by the end of the month.
Talcum Powder Lawsuits Against Johnson & Johnson
Talcum powder is the primary ingredient in once-popular products like Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower Fresh. Also known as baby powder, talc powder has been a household staple for generations. Many people use it to keep their skin dry and prevent rashes, especially in areas prone to moisture such as the underarms and genital area.
However, in recent years, there have been numerous studies linking talcum powder to a serious health risk – an increased risk of ovarian cancer. As a result, thousands of individuals have filed talcum powder lawsuits against companies such as Johnson & Johnson, alleging that the companies failed to warn consumers of the health risks associated with talcum powder and that their use of talcum powder caused them to develop ovarian cancer.
What is Talcum Powder?
Talcum powder is a naturally occurring mineral that is commonly used as a personal care product. It is made from talc, a soft mineral that is found in the earth, and it is commonly used in products such as baby powder, body powder, and deodorants. Talc is a mineral that often has asbestos. We have known for years that asbestos exposure leads to many diseases, including ovarian cancer, specifically epithelial ovarian cancer, and mesothelioma cancer.
Talcum powder has been marketed as a safe and effective way to keep skin dry and prevent rashes, especially in sensitive areas. However, studies have shown that talcum powder particles can travel through the reproductive system and embed themselves in the ovaries, which has been linked to an increased risk of ovarian cancer.
The Link Between Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer
Studies have shown that regular use of talcum powder in the genital area can increase a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer. This is because talcum powder particles can travel through the reproductive system and embed themselves in the ovaries, leading to the formation of cancerous cells. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified talcum powder as a potential carcinogen, and several studies have shown a link between talcum powder use and ovarian cancer. Despite this evidence, many companies that manufacture talcum powder products have failed to adequately warn consumers of the health risks associated with the product.
The Talcum Powder Litigation
As a result of the evidence linking talcum powder to ovarian cancer, thousands of individuals have filed talcum powder lawsuits against companies such as Johnson & Johnson, alleging that the companies failed to warn consumers of the health risks associated with talcum powder and that their use of talcum powder caused them to develop ovarian cancer. These lawsuits claim that the companies were negligent in their marketing and labeling of talcum powder products, and that they should have known about the health risks associated with talcum powder based on the available scientific evidence.
In many cases, plaintiffs in talcum powder lawsuits have been awarded significant damages, including compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. In some cases, juries have found in favor of the plaintiffs and awarded millions of dollars in damages. These lawsuits serve an important function in holding companies accountable for the harm caused by their products and in ensuring that consumers are protected from dangerous products.
Talc Powder Class Action
The first talc powder class action lawsuit was filed in the 1990s, when a number of women claimed that the use of talc powder had caused them to develop ovarian cancer. These lawsuits were filed against Johnson & Johnson, one of the largest manufacturers of talc powder products, and claimed that the company failed to warn consumers of the health risks associated with talc powder and that their use of talc powder caused them to develop ovarian cancer
In 2023, talcum powder lawsuits in federal courts have been consolidated into a class action Talcum Powder MDL. The talcum powder class action MDL lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson are still ongoing.
So far, over 36,000 individual talcum powder lawsuits have been filed in federal court and consolidated into the Talcum Powder MDL that are consolidated in U.S. District Court in New Jersey.
In October 2020, Johnson & Johnson announced it has agreed to pay $100 million to settle 1,000 of these cases. More bulk settlements from J&J are expected to follow after the court rejected J&J effort to hide from juries in bankrupcy. Meanwhile, individual talcum powder cases are going to trial in California and many other state courts.
Prudencio Talcum Powder Case
Christina Prudencio was one of many women to file a talcum powder lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson. Prudencio, a 35-year-old mother, and resident of the bay area in California, regularly used J&J’s talcum products such as Baby Powder for years starting in her childhood.
In 2020, Prudencio was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a type of cancer that is only known to be caused by exposure to asbestos. She underwent surgery and various other treatments, but mesothelioma is generally a terminal type of cancer.
Prudencio eventually brought a product liability lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson alleging that her mesothelioma was caused by asbestos in the J&J talcum powder products she used for years.
The case was fast-tracked for trial because Prudencio was not expected to live much longer. The trial in the Superior Court for Alameda County began via Zoom on June 15.
Lawyers for Prudencio explained to the jury that her terminal mesothelioma was caused by Johnson & Johnson’s policy of ignoring decades of proof that its talcum powder products were not safe.
Prudencio’s lawyer laid out a long, detailed timeline of events showing how J&J executives systematically and repeatedly refused to acknowledge the fact that their talcum products were contaminated with asbestos.
Among the incidents presented by Prudencio’s lawyers was a 1971 research memo confirming that chrysotile asbestos was found in J&J’s talcum products, and a 1976 incident in which J&J pressured executives at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York to publicly reverse their own findings that talc contained asbestos. In their closing arguments at trial, Prudencio’s attorneys argued that a “reasonable company” would have pulled their talcum powder products from the market back in the 1970s.
Instead, however, J&J continued to keep their talcum products on retail shelves until 2020 when they finally made the decision to discontinue them in response to litigation. The defense team for J&J argued that Prudencio’s mesothelioma was not caused by Baby Powder, but rather the result of a genetic mutation.
$26.5 Million Verdict
Following an exhausting 2-month trial, in August 2021 the jury came back with a verdict that found J&J liable for Christina Prudencio’s cancer and awarded her $26,400,000 in economic damages and pain & suffering damages. The jury also found it appropriate to penalize Johnson & Johnson with an additional $100,000 in punitive damages, a clear indication that J&J’s actions offended the jurors.
FAQs – Talcum Powder Lawsuits
What is the status of the talcum powder lawsuits?
The talcum powder class action MDL lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson (and other manufacturers) are currently still ongoing. Over 30,000 individual talcum powder lawsuits have been filed across the country and consolidated into the Talcum Powder MDL. Johnson & Johnson announced in 2020 that it has agreed to pay $100 million to settle 1,000 of these cases. More bulk settlements from J&J are expected to follow.
How much are talcum powder lawsuits worth?
Johnson & Johnson recently announced that it was paying out $100,000,000 to settle a group of 1,000 cases. This works out to about $100,000 per case.
This is probably a good indication of the likely settlement value for weaker cases. With the bankrupcy nonsense in the rear view mirror in 2023, the next round of settlements will be higher than the first.
Is it too late to file a talcum powder lawsuit?
It is not too late to file your own talcum powder lawsuit. If you used talcum powder products on a regular basis for 1 year or longer and you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer within the last 3 years, you may have valid talcum powder lawsuit. Although the talcum powder litigation has been going on for a long time and some cases have already settled, it is not too late to file your own case.