California Federal Judge Dismisses Talcum Powder Lawsuit
U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley dismissed a lawsuit seeking damages for plaintiffs who felt Johnson & Johnson withheld information from them about a link between ovarian cancer and talcum powder.
Monday, June 15, 2015 - A California federal judge decided not to hear a talcum powder lawsuit brought against Johnson & Johnson, throwing out the case after claiming it held no merit. The lawsuit was one of hundreds filed against Johnson & Johnson for the reported link between their baby powder products and the development of ovarian cancer in women.
The lawsuit that was dismissed lasted roughly a year after its filing in April of 2014. Though similar to more than 650 talcum powder lawsuits currently pending in the country, this particular lawsuit did not involve any women who had directly suffered from ovarian cancer connected to talcum powder. The woman who filed the lawsuit instead hoped to recover damages for those who had purchased talcum powder from Johnson & Johnson and in doing so put themselves and their families at risk. The plaintiffs claimed that with proper warning, they would not have purchased the product.
The lawsuit also attempted to affect the warning labels Johnson & Johnson affixed to their baby powder products. Plaintiffs hoped to influence the company to strengthen the warnings to alert consumers of the risks of ovarian cancer in connected to talcum powder.
U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley ruled that while the plaintiffs may have made a different decision when purchasing the talcum powder, their economic injuries were not sufficient to pursue a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson. The judge claimed that since the plaintiffs had received what they desired in exchange for what they paid when purchasing the product, they received the benefit-of-the-bargain when choosing to do so. The plaintiffs on the other hand claim that they purchased the product in part because of the trust they had in its safety. That trust was allegedly breached by Johnson & Johnson in the company's failure to properly warn customers of a possible link between the product and ovarian cancer.
Johnson & Johnson have not been given every decision in the first lawsuits to be decided upon in court however. The company lost a trial in 2013 concerning a woman who used their Shower-To-Shower product for 30 years before developing ovarian cancer. The jury did not award damages in the decision, but did send a message about Johnson & Johnson's practices surrounding talcum powder that could prove significant as litigation against the company concerning the product continues to grow nationwide.
Ovarian cancer is one of the rarer forms of cancer, but is especially deadly as its symptoms are difficult to feel and diagnose until the disease has reached an advanced stage. The talcum powder allegedly connected to ovarian cancer in the lawsuits is claimed to have toxic chemicals that act as catalysts for the development of ovarian cancer in women.
Studies and talcum powder cancer research have documented the link between ovarian cancer and talcum powder for more than 40 years. Despite the considerable evidence connecting the product with such a serious side effect, the FDA has yet to hear arguments persuasive enough to necessitate a warning label informing customers of the possible risks. The risk of ovarian cancer linked to talcum powder is getting more publicity however, and more lawsuits against companies that manufacture the allegedly dangerous product are expected to rise as litigation around the country moves forward.