$72 million win for woman with ovarian cancer linked to talc powder use

A big court win shines a light on the connection between talcum powder use and cancer.

A case out of Missouri is drawing national attention. The case involves a woman who died from cancer at the age of 62. Reuters discussed the case, noting the woman stated she used baby powder by Johnson & Johnson as a feminine hygiene product for over 35 years before developing ovarian cancer. The retail giant was accused of being aware of this connection and failing to warn consumers of this danger in an effort to increase profits.

A report by New York Daily News notes that a damning internal memo from 1997 was introduced during the case. The memo essentially stated that anyone who denies that a connection exists between the use of talc powder and an increased risk of ovarian cancer would be "publicly perceived in the same light as those who denied a link between smoking cigarettes and cancer."

More on the link between ovarian cancer and talc use

Numerous studies have supported the contention that regular use of talcum powder contributes to the development of ovarian cancer. A recent study published in the Journal of Epidemiology finds that a risk is present and that this risk increases the longer a woman uses the product. The product, when used in the genital area, can travel to the ovaries. Once in the ovaries it can result in inflammation, and increased rates of inflammation can contribute to the development of cancer.

More on this case

Ultimately, the jury in this case held for the plaintiff, finding Johnson & Johnson guilty of fraud, negligence and conspiracy. The company was ordered to pay $10 million in actual damages and an additional $62 million in punitive damages. Punitive damages are those imposed by the court as a form of monetary punishment.

This is not the first time Johnson & Johnson has faced these accusations. In 2013 a court in South Dakota found the company’s talcum product was linked to ovarian cancer.

Remedies available to victims

This case provides an example of the remedies potentially available to victims in similar situations. Those who have suffered from ovarian cancer or lost a loved one to this disease should seek the counsel of an experienced lawyer. Those in these situations may consider two different options: a traditional, personal injury suit or a class action suit. A class action suit essentially involves a group, or class, of individuals who suffer similar injuries from the use of a product. This type of lawsuit can be beneficial in certain situations, especially those involving relatively minor injuries. However, in this particular situation women who develop ovarian cancer may be wise to pursue a case representing their own interests to better ensure they receive the full compensation they are entitled to. Contact an experienced serious injury lawyer to discuss your options.