Recent jury verdict expected to pave the way for further victories against Johnson & Johnson™ in California
Update July 12, 2019: Court of appeal said there was sufficient evidence to justify that talcum powder caused the cancer.
On August 21, 2017 a Los Angeles jury issued a $417-million verdict against Johnson & Johnson™, based on the healthcare giant’s failure to warn women about the dangers of internal use of baby powder for personal hygiene.
The plaintiff in the case, Eva Echeverria, was represented by The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker, in association with The Robinson Firm because of their national experience and success. One of our senior partners was involved in the case and consulted throughout the case.
Echeverria learned that she had ovarian cancer in 2007. Despite surgery to remove a tumor the size of a softball, Echeverria is not expected to recover. In fact, she is near death and was not able to attend the court proceedings.
Echeverria recorded a video deposition in which she testified that she started using Johnson & Johnson’s™ Baby Powder at age 11 and continued for about 40 years. She stopped using the product in 2016, after seeing a news report about another woman with ovarian cancer who had also used Johnson & Johnson™ talcum powder. Echeverria said that if Johnson & Johnson™ had placed a warning label on their Baby Powder advising women of the connection between ovarian cancer and talcum powder, she would have stopped using the product.
Johnson & Johnson™ denies any connection between its products and ovarian cancer, arguing there is no scientific evidence of talc products having carcinogenic properties.
However, there is research to the contrary dating back decades. For example, Echeverria’s attorneys cited a 1982 study that found a 92 percent increased risk of ovarian cancer among women who used talcum powder in their genital areas.
Based on this and other evidence, we were able to show that there was a connection between Echeverria’s illness and her use of Johnson & Johnson™ Baby Powder, and that Johnson & Johnson™ had been guilty of covering up the truth for many years.
Now, many women who trusted Johnson & Johnson™ to market safe products are finding out too late that the company had knowingly put them at risk of an extremely dangerous form of cancer. Ovarian cancer is the fifth-leading cause of cancer deaths in women. More than half of these women pass away within five years of their diagnosis.
After two days of deliberation, the jury found that Echeverria’s cancer was linked to talcum powder, and that Johnson & Johnson™ executives were liable because they had continued to promote a product with known links to cancer without warning women. The jury awarded $70 million in compensatory damages plus an additional $347 million in punitive damages.
Though this was not the nation’s first ruling against Johnson & Johnson™ on this issue, it was by far the largest. Four previous cases tried in St Louis resulted in a total of $307.5 million split among the plaintiffs.
Most importantly, this was the first talc ruling in California and served as our state’s lead talc test case. There are currently over 300 talc lawsuits pending in our state, and this case should serve as much-needed encouragement that the plaintiffs will get justice.
Although Johnson & Johnson™ does plan to appeal, our firm and The Robinson Firm will be standing by to continue to argue for the rights of the women who have been harmed and ensure they receive the representation they need to stand up to the corporate giant.