J&J Loses Third Baby Powder Lawsuit Trial of 2016
A St. Louis jury ruled in favor of a plaintiff who brought a talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuit to trial against Johnson & Johnson, awarding her upwards of $70 million.
Saturday, October 29, 2016 - The third Johnson & Johnson's baby powder lawsuit trial to be heard before the City of St. Louis Circuit court came to a close on Thursday with the verdict coming down heavily in favor of the plaintiff. An award of more than $70 million was given to Deborah Giannecchini, who filed a talcum powder lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson for failing to warn her of the ovarian cancer risks medical studies had linked to their popular cosmetic. Ms. Giannecchini was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2013 and claims doctors have given her only a 20 percent chance of living beyond the next two years.
The favorable verdict for the plaintiff if the third of its kind in 2016, with Johnson & Johnson losing all three talcum powder lawsuits to the tune of nearly $200 million combined. The ruling is a huge blow for Johnson & Johnson, as three consecutive decisions against the health care giant gives them a dim outlook on contesting these baby powder lawsuits going forward. The potential for a lump sum settlement to resolve the more than 1,700 pending talcum powder lawsuit claims has become a far more likely possibility following the result of the trial.
There was some uncertainty as to whether this Johnson & Johnson's baby powder lawsuit would reach a similar en as the first two in large part because of a New Jersey judge's decision to toss two lawsuits just before they went to trial. The judge in that case dismissed the expert testimony that defended the integrity of the science behind the medical studies that discovered links between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. It was unknown how that decision would affect the proceedings in St. Louis, though now it is clear that the New Jersey development had little to no influence on the outcome of the trial.
The end of this trial comes just after a motion to transfer talcum powder lawsuits around the country into an MDL was approved by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. This will allow talcum powder ovarian cancer attorneys around the country to coordinate their efforts before a single federal judge, which could expedite the process of a lump sum settlement should Johnson & Johnson ultimately choose that route. The transfer only included 11 actions and the panel order certifying the litigation mentioned 43 tag-alongs, but it is expected that a large share of the pending 1,700-plus talcum powder lawsuits around the country will look into joining the MDL in the coming months.
The Johnson & Johnson's baby powder lawsuit trial also resulted in the mining company Imerys Talc America bearing responsibility in a jury's decision for the first time this year. The company was ordered to pay $2.5 million in punitive damages as a result of their role in failing to warn consumers of the ovarian cancer risk associated with talcum powder. Both Johnson & Johnson and Imerys will now have to determine how to go forward with the hundreds of baby powder cancer lawsuits filed around the country, as their initial plan to take the claims to trial has thus far only netted the plaintiffs massive awards at the defendant's expense.