Court Demands J&J Pay $72 Million over Talc Suit
The jury presiding over the St. Louis trial hit Johnson & Johnson with a giant talcum powder lawsuit settlement penalty in reaction to evidence, proving the company intentionally deceived women by withholding information linking talcum powder to ovarian cancer.
Tuesday, March 1, 2016 - A St. Louis jury found Johnson & Johnson (J&J) guilty of multiple claims of consumer abuse this week, ordering the company pay a $72 million talcum powder settlement to the plaintiff. Jacqueline Fox, the plaintiff in the case who passed away in October, sued the giant personal care company for failing to warn her about the ovarian cancer risk associated with J&J talcum powder products and intentionally withholding that information from the public. Both of the claims were ruled upon favorably by the jury, which found J&J's actions behind the scenes so deplorable it handed down the first damages awarded to a plaintiff that has filed an ovarian cancer lawsuit against the company.
A North Dakota jury sided with a talcum powder plaintiff in a 2013 trial, however the decision was reached only as a legal designation and no damages were awarded. The $72 million talcum powder verdict J&J received is made up of both compensatory and punitive damages. The talcum powder cancer lawsuit settlement was divided into $10 million in compensatory funds for the plaintiff, and $62 million in punitive damages to be paid by J&J to punish the company for its activities surrounding the talcum powder cancer scandal that has compromised the health of thousands of women nationwide.
Around 1,200 lawsuits with similar claims to those filed in the St. Louis case are pending around the country and will likely benefit from the high dollar amount awarded in damages. The trial, which was the first talcum powder cancer settlement reached in the City of St. Louis Circuit Court, was widely perceived as a bellwether for future plaintiffs bringing talcum powder ovarian cancer charges against J&J.
The $72 million in damages will pressure J&J to consider talcum powder cancer settlements to resolve the current and growing number of future plaintiffs following the verdict. Though likely not as individually lucrative as the $72 million talcum powder ovarian cancer award structured by the St. Louis jury, an eventual settlement would still be sizable for future plaintiffs given the heinous activity revealed during the trial that persuaded the jury to come down as hard as they did against J&J.
The plaintiff's attorneys in the trial set their original minimum goal for damages to be paid by J&J at $22 million, which was beat by $50 million. In addition to the roughly 1,000 lawsuits filed in St. Louis, there are also close to 200 currently filed in J&J's home state of New Jersey. The St. Louis talcum powder cancer verdict will serve as a precedent by which the future talcum powder claims pending against J&J will be interpreted by courts hearing the cases.