Thursday, October 27, 2016

Third Missouri Jury Awards Substantial Verdict in Talcum Powder Ovarian Cancer Lawsuit

October 28, 2016 - For the third time in less than a year, jurors in Missouri have hit pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson with a substantial verdict. This verdict, like the last two, concerns the ovarian cancer dangers associated with baby powder with talc. The safety of talc has been under debate since the 1980’s, and while Johnson & Johnson could have swapped out their baby powder with talc for baby powder with cornstarch—as most other companies which manufacture baby powder have long since done—Johnson & Johnson simply continued to sell their talc product alongside a cornstarch version.

 

Talc Fiber Migration

The facts which came to light in the last two Johnson & Johnson baby powder ovarian cancer lawsuits, as well as this latest talc powder claim, include the theory of talc fiber migration. In the early 1970’s, British medical researchers found deeply embedded talc fibers in ten out of thirteen tissue samples taken from women with a diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Researchers since that time have theorized talc fiber migration occurs when women use talcum powder for feminine hygiene; the fibers travel up through the vagina and the uterus, through the fallopian tubes, and into the ovaries where they embed themselves, causing significant levels of inflammation. Inflammation is a well-known factor in many different types of cancers, including ovarian cancer.

 

Plaintiff Deborah Giannecchini Receives Substantial Award in Baby Powder Lawsuit

Plaintiff Deborah Giannecchini was awarded economic damages, non-economic compensatory damages, and punitive damages. The talc supplier, Imerys Talc America Inc. was ordered to pay punitive damages to Giannecchini as well. Giannecchini has had her spleen, part of her stomach, part of her colon, her ovaries and her uterus all removed as a result of her ovarian cancer diagnosis. Like other defendants, Giannecchnini said she would not have used talcum powder for feminine hygiene if she had been aware of the risks.

 

Failure to Warn on the Part of Johnson & Johnson?

R. Allen Smith Jr., Giannecchini’s attorney, told jurors during closing arguments that Johnson & Johnson had not only joked about the potential baby powder cancer link, but also falsified medical records to hide the facts. One internal J & J document presented in Giannecchini’s trial—as well as the two prior trials—is a memo which suggested J & J would be compared to the cigarette industry if the company failed to warn women about the potential risks of using talcum powder in the genital region.

 

Johnson & Johnson Denies Link Between Talc and Ovarian Cancer

Johnson & Johnson has continued to maintain there is no solid link between talc and ovarian cancer, despite numerous scientific studies which concluded otherwise. As with the last two trials, J & J has vowed to appeal the decision. Imerys Talc America Inc., named in prior trials, but later dropped as a defendant, claims since they don’t market the products, but only supply the raw materials, they should not be a part of the J & J trials, although a spokeswoman agreed with J & J that talc is not a harmful substance.

 

Contacting a Talcum Powder Ovarian Cancer Lawyer

While Missouri jurors awarded damages in a wrongful death talcum powder ovarian cancer claim in February 2016, and damages in a personal injury claim filed by Gloria Ristesund a few months later, plaintiffs in New Jersey have not had the same level of success. In fact, last month a New Jersey judge tossed out two similar ovarian cancer lawsuits claiming there was insufficient scientific proof of a link between talc and ovarian cancer. If you have been diagnosed with baby powder cancer and you were unaware of the ovarian cancer dangers associated with talc, it could be beneficial to contact a baby powder ovarian cancer lawyer as soon as possible.
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Author: Andrew Sullo
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Andrew Sullo

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Andrew Sullo is a National Trial Lawyer's Top 100 Selection for 2013-2018. He is also a member of the American Association of Justice.

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