A Los Angeles Superior Court jury ordered Johnson & Johnson (“J&J”)
to pay $417 million to a woman who claims she developed ovarian cancer
after using the company’s talc-based products. The Plaintiff, Eva
Echeverria (“Plaintiff”), received the largest verdict to
date in lawsuits pertaining to J&J’s purported failure to warn
consumers about the possible risk of cancer from using its talc-based products.
Echeverria, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson (Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. BC628228), Plaintiff contended that
she used J&J’s baby powder and other absorbent body powder from
the company for decades; which was a substantial factor in causing her
development of ovarian cancer.
Plaintiff’s counsel, led by Allen Smith of the Smith Law Firm in
Mississippi, accused J&J of encouraging women to use its talc products
despite knowing of years of studies “linking” ovarian cancer
diagnosis and deaths to genital talc use. Conversely J&J’s counsel
argued that numerous scientific studies, as well as federal agencies,
including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, have not found a scientific
link between talcum products and the development of ovarian cancer.
Ultimately, the jury sided with Plaintiff and awarded her a reported $70
million in compensatory damages, and a mammoth $347 million in punitive
damages. This verdict follows five prior verdicts obtained in Missouri
state courts; which
combined equaled $307 million in verdicts to various plaintiffs. This California
verdict shatters the previously largest verdict of $110 million.
Believing that the science supports their position, counsel for J&J
indicated that they intended to appeal the verdict.