A Los Angeles jury recently awarded a 62-year-old woman $417 million after she proved Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based baby powder caused her ovarian cancer. The verdict included a $347 million punitive damage award due to the company’s failure to warn of the risk of using its product.  

Under federal law, cosmetic products (such as baby powder) that may be dangerous must have a warning label. Research from the 1970s through today has shown that talc may be harmful to women. When talc is applied to female genital areas, particles can migrate to and become lodged in the upper genital tract. Talc cannot be broken down by the body’s natural defenses. These particles can cause inflammation, which in turn may cause some types of ovarian cancer.  

Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based baby powder does not carry a warning label.

There is evidence that as early as 1997, a consultant for Johnson & Johnson warned that a statistically significant link between talc and ovarian cancer had been established independently by several investigators. However, Johnson & Johnson continues to claim that talc is safe, denying a link between talc and ovarian cancer.

Six other similar cases have been brought against Johnson & Johnson. All but one have resulted in verdicts in favor of the plaintiff. In each of those five cases, the jury awarded punitive damages.   

Unlike money awarded to compensate victims for their medical costs or their pain and suffering, punitive damages are usually only awarded when defendants’ behavior is particularly outrageous. 

If you or someone you know developed ovarian cancer after regularly using Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based baby powder, you may have a case. Contact a SUGARMAN personal injury lawyer today. Fill out a Contact Form, call us at 617-542-1000 or email info@sugarman.com.