Johnson & Johnson suffered a 2nd straight legal defeat in defense of its trademark talc items on Monday when it was ordered to pay $55 million in damages to a woman who blamed her ovarian cancer on making use of Johnson s Baby Powder for feminine health.
After about 10 hours of considerations, a state court jury in St. Louis, Mo., granted $5 million in offsetting damages and $50 million in punitive damages to Gloria Ristesund, 62, of Sioux Falls, S.D. She was diagnosed with Stage I ovarian cancer in 2011, and had a hysterectomy, including elimination of her uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes.
J&J is facing more than 1,200 comparable claims on behalf of ovarian cancer victims who state that genital use of its talc powders talcum powder and Shower to Shower was the cause or a contributing cause of the condition. As reported by Fair Warning, in February the health care items giant was slammed with a $72 million loss in a case brought by the family of Jacqueline Fox, a Birmingham, Ala., woman who passed away of ovarian cancer last year at the age of 62.
The newest defeat is more considerable because the facts seemed much more favorable to the company. Under the treatment being utilized to handle numerous pending claims in St. Louis, complainants got to pick the first claim to be tried, the Fox case, and the defense selected the next one, Ristesund. According to evidence in the case, Ristesund had experienced endometriosis and was obese both risk elements for ovarian cancer. Ristesund has had no reoccurrence of her cancer since undergoing surgical treatment in 2011. Jurors in cancer cases in some cases reveal more sympathy for victims who are terminally ill or departed.
The jury of 9 women and three guys discovered J&J and its subsidiary, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Cos., Inc., guilty of negligence and failure to caution about the dangers of genital use of talc. The jury rejected an additional claim that the business had conspired to supply deceptive scientific and medical information. As likewise happened in the Fox case, J&J s co-defendant and talc supplier, Imerys Talc America, Inc., was absolved of liability.
Ristesund decreased to be spoken with. Ted Meadows, one of her attorneys, stated she is extremely delighted about the decision, in particular, since she brought this lawsuit to let the public understand of the risks, since Johnson & Johnson appears reluctant to do so.
In a prepared statement, J&J spokeswoman Carol Goodrich said the company will appeal the decision, which breaks 30 years of researches by medical experts all over the world that continue to support the safety of cosmetic talc. We understand that women and families impacted by ovarian cancer are searching for answers, and we deeply have compassion with all who have been impacted by this ravaging illness without any recognized cause.
In a composed statement, Imerys spokesperson Stephanie Fraser stated the company’s confidence in the safety of its talc is supported by the agreement view of qualified scientific experts and governing agencies. Our hearts go out to the women and their families impacted by ovarian cancer. We hope the scientific community will remain to focus its efforts and resources on finding the true reasons for ovarian cancer to help lead us to a cure for this tragic illness.
In closing arguments on Friday, Ristesund attorney R. Allen Smith, Jr. stated the case depended upon whether J&J had a duty to alert, and whether genital use of talc caused or added to Ristesund’s cancer. We are not discussing a product that causes a rash, Smith said. The defendants have shown complete neglect for the safety of women, and my client.
J&J attorney Christy D. Jones informed the panel that talc is safe and that, women and gentlemen, is exactly what the current science is. You shouldn’t be warning of something that’s not real. In her closing statement, Imerys attorney Nancy M. Erfle said Ristesund’s cancer was a dreadful thing for her to go through, but that talc is not the reason. The science supports the safety of talc.