What is Talc?
Talc is a silicate mineral which occurs naturally in the environment. For almost a hundred years cosmetic companies have used the softness of the mineral and its moisture absorbing features to manufacture baby powder and some other cosmetics. When Johnson & Johnson in 1892 began to use pulverized talc in some of its products, this led to many other products being produced with the same formula. Overall, the only real danger in using talc is when it has been used around the genital areas, which is popular among women. Its use has been linked to ovarian cancer.
The present controversy is related to just two of Johnson & Johnson’s lines. These are Shower – Shower body powder & Johnson Baby Powder. Even though the connection between using these talc based products and ovarian cancer had been made clear, Johnson and Johnson failed to provide warning labels. Many women used these products to conceal bad smells, absorb unwanted moisture and stop uncomfortable irritations. They did this without the knowledge that using these products long-term could damage their health.
What is the Evidence showing the link between the use of talcum powder & ovarian Cancer?
It was in 1971 that physicians found particles of talc deeply lodged in ovarian tumors. It wasn’t until 1982 that the first study which linked talc use with the onset of ovarian cancer was released. Clinical trials were well organized cases and took place over a 30 year period. In 2015 a study was published firmly linking the talc-cancer connection. The study concluded that the risk of getting ovarian cancer increased by 30 percent for those using talc products.
Medical research confirmed that women when sprinkling baby powder on their underwear might increase their cancer risk as the talc particles can move from their genitals to their ovaries and lodge themselves in the adjacent tissue. The body isn’t able to remove easily these particles that accumulate within the region of the ovaries, which causes persistent inflammation and could even lead on to the forming of malignant cancer tumors. There is already an established link between the inhaling of talc and the onset of lung cancer so the link between talc-based hygienic products and ovarian cancer isn’t really much of a surprise.
Was Johnson & Johnson aware of the cancer from baby powder link?
There is little doubt that since 1982 Johnson and Johnson had full knowledge of this risk. Despite this, they didn’t do anything to warn potential consumers regarding the danger of applying talc-based powder to the genital area. Even today, Johnson and Johnson won’t even believe results from the most reputable studies indicating the connection of talc to ovarian cancers. Because they have consistently refused to issue a warning to women regarding the dangerous side effects many lawsuits have been filed against Johnson & Johnson for providing a dangerous product and not warning people about it.
Many lawsuits against Johnson and Johnson have been successful
2009 hailed the first lawsuit filed by a doctor’s assistant from South Dakota. The 49 year old got ovarian after using Johnson and Johnson’s products throughout her life. Since then, almost 1,000 lawsuits have been filed by plaintiffs against Johnson & Johnson. Two of the lawsuits have reached settlements worth $127 million, but Johnson & Johnson continue to assert that its talcum-based goods are safe to use.
Lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson have been moved from the state to the federal courts
Many lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson were heard in a state court, but 43 more high-profile cases ended up in a federal court and were consolidated recently into Multidistrict Litigation (MDL). The United States Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) issued an order to transfer and centralize all of the federal talc powder cancer lawsuits so they could be heard before Freda L. Wolfson, the United States District Judge in the United States District Court in New Jersey District.
With so many plaintiffs, benefits can be gained by forming an MDL. MDLs may reduce duplication and discovery that overlaps which prevents rulings that may cause a conflict between different judges. What is more critical is the MDL will typically timetable bellwether trials as soon as discovery has been completed. In a lot of cases verdicts in the bellwether trials could lead to settlements being reached for other types of claims.
Johnson & Johnson is not new to litigation, as it has faced and settled lawsuits involving lots of their flagship goods which include DePuy ASR, Ethicon trans-vaginal mesh and the Pinnacle brand of hip joint. Also a number of other products such as:
- Power morcellators,
The above products have all revolved around lawsuits while many have been part of huge recalls. Up to now Johnson & Johnson has paid out billions of dollars.
Why you must file a lawsuit?
Because of the strong correlation between the use of Johnson baby powder and the onset of cancer, if as a woman and following prolonged use of Johnson & Johnson talc products you have been told you have ovarian cancer, you could be eligible for a compensation settlement. If your case reaches a favorable outcome, you might be able to get compensation to cover emotional and financial damages. This can include:
- payment of medical bills;
- compensation for loss of loss of wages;
- an amount which is calculated based on your pain and suffering;
- burial expenses.
At Coffey McPharlin we can take on personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits related to Johnson and Johnson talcum powder cases which have caused ovarian cancer. We don’t expect you to pay any legal fees upfront and you only pay once we have won a favorable settlement on your behalf. If we are unsuccessful you won’t owe anything, as we cover the legal costs.