Johnson & Johnson was ordered by a Los Angeles jury to pay $US417 million ($525 million) to a 62-year-old woman who blamed her ovarian cancer on the company’s talc.
The jury found the parent company and its consumer-products unit liable Monday for failing to warn a woman over the alleged risk of the baby powder. The verdict includes $US347 million in punitive damages. J&J, which faces 5,500 claims in US courts, has lost four previous jury verdicts in St. Louis for a total of $US300 million, reports SMH.
The trial in Los Angeles was the first before a state jury outside Missouri, where the company lost four out of five trials over the past 2 years and got hit with verdicts as high as $US110 million.
J&J is appealing the verdicts and in June succeeded in halting a trial in St. Louis after the US Supreme Court made it more difficult for out-of-state plaintiffs to join lawsuits in state courts that are deemed favourable to their claims.
The company will appeal, said spokeswoman Carol Goodrich. “We are guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder,” she said. “We are preparing for additional trials in the US and we will continue to defend the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder.”
Mark Robinson, a lawyer for plaintiff Eva Echeverria, said outside the courtroom that J&J should start warning women immediately about the risks of its talcum powder.
“J&J needs to see they not only have verdicts against them in St. Louis, they now also have them in Los Angeles,” Robinson said. “There’s a problem all over the country with women using talcum powder on daily basis for 10, 20, 30, 40 years.”
An Australian researcher says ‘Women should not be concerned’ – A UNSW medical researcher, and Cancer Council Australia scientific adviser, Professor Bernard Stewart told SBS News there was still no definitive link between using baby powder and developing ovarian cancer.
There are still up to 50 cases of legal action.
Previous cases include:
One of the girls in the office literally just grabbed some in the shopping today and is now in a bit of a panic.
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