TOXIC TORT: Johnson & Johnson Ordered to Pay $417 Million by California Jury


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.

In 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.

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