The $70 million lawsuit was filed by Deborah Giannecchini, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012. According to her lawsuit, she used baby powder as a feminine hygiene product for more than 40 years, stopping after she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Lawyers for Giannecchini say despite having gone through surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, she will likely die in the next two years.
According to Bloomberg (10/27/16), jurors agreed with Giannecchini that the companies responsible should have warned consumers about the potential link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (10/28/16) reports Giannecchini was awarded $575,000 in medical damages, $2 million in compensatory damages, and $65 million in punitive damages from Johnson & Johnson. Imerys Talc America—a co-defendant in the lawsuit—was ordered to pay $2.5 million in punitive damages.
Johnson & Johnson will reportedly appeal the decision. Both Johnson & Johnson and Imerys argued that experts brought in by the plaintiffs failed to provide scientific proof that use of talcum powder led to ovarian cancer. The companies say the product is safe. But studies have found conflicting results.
The American Cancer Society notes that findings regarding a link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer have been mixed. Although some studies have shown a slight increase in risk, others have not.
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Two previous lawsuits have resulted in awards of $72 million and $55 million each. Johnson & Johnson is reportedly appealing those awards. But others have been thrown out of court. Meanwhile, hundreds of lawsuits sit in state and federal court, alleging consumers were put at risk of ovarian cancer after Johnson & Johnson failed to warn them about a potential increased risk of ovarian cancer.
The lawsuit is Hogans v. Johnson & Johnson, 1422-CC09012-01, in Circuit Court, St. Louis City, Missouri.