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Jury orders Johnson & Johnson to pay $750 million in latest baby powder case

Published on 07/02/20 at 10:32am

Johnson & Johnson have been ordered to pay by a jury $750 million to four plaintiffs over the company’s baby powder product being alleged to contained carcinogens.

The jury concluded that the company had not properly informed consumers of the risk of using the powder. Traces of the carcinogen asbestos can found in talc and can cause mesothelioma.

While the jury ordered the company to pay $750 million to four individuals, the judge presiding over the case, Ana C. Viscomi, stated that she would reduce the fine to $186.5 million. This is due to state law, where punitive damages can’t pay more than five times the amount of compensatory damages fined.

Johnson & Johnson said in a statement that they would appeal both phases of the trial. Saying that “numerous legal errors that subjected the jury to irrelevant information and prevented them from hearing meaningful evidence.”

Johnson & Johnson faces over 16,800 lawsuits concerning its talc products. In August 2017, an Los Angeles jury hit Johnson & Johnson for $417 million in damages over the case of Eva Echeverria, who alleged that the company’s baby powder had given her ovarian cancer after extended use on her genital area.

A separate jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $37.3 million in compensatory damages during the first phase of this same case back in 2019.

Earlier this month, research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found there is no statistically significant link between the use of talc-based baby powder and ovarian cancer. It was a cohort study in which researchers followed a group of subjects over time and tracks their life experiences and their health condition. They examined data from over 252,000 women.

Despite the new cohort study, case-control studies have shown stronger links between ovarian cancer and baby powder use. Daniel W. Cramer, a Harvard epidemiologist, has carried out multiple case-control studies which have been used in many of the lawsuits. He himself has served as an expert witness in these cases.

Conor Kavanagh


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