Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Law Blog

$55 Million Verdict In Baby Powder Case

Posted by Charles Gilman | May 23, 2016 | 0 Comments

Johnson & Johnson is one of the most trusted names in products for children, particularly newborns and toddlers. The large pharmaceutical company is responsible for popular bathing and care products marketed specifically for children. One of these products is their trademark baby powder, a product that parents frequently use for their newborns. Baby powder is handy for rashes, chaffing, and the like for both newborns and people of all ages. Unfortunately, one unintended side effect has Johnson & Johnson in hot water. The side effect for one woman was ovarian cancer.

Health Issues Related To Talc

Talc is a key ingredient in every day cosmetic products, particularly deodorants and baby powders. The raw mineral itself can actually be linked to asbestos, a known carcinogen. The mineral often goes through a purifying process before it is included in the products on shelves, however, this does not always make it safe. There have been studies done to research the effects of talc powder particles to see if they have any link to ovarian cancer. These studies have shown mixed results, but provide a determination that talc is "possibly carcinogenic." This means that talc-based products may have a link to certain types of cancers, depending on the product. For Johnson & Johnson, "possibly carcinogenic" must have translated to "safe to sell to the public," and one woman's use of their product led to ovarian cancer, and later on, a lawsuit.

A $55 Million Case

The plaintiff in the case was an older woman of 62, who had been using Johnson & Johnson's talc-based baby powder products. The plaintiff, Gloria Ristesund, claimed that she had been making use of Johnson & Johnson's product for decades, and that the talc in the baby powder had caused her to develop ovarian cancer from the product's continued use. Ristesund received her diagnosis in 2011. She underwent a hysterectomy, along with several other surgeries to combat the cancer. The cancer is now in remission.

Ristesund underwent a three week long trial in Missouri. After a long and well fought legal battle, she was compensated $5 million, and awarded $50 million in punitive damages. Johnson & Johnson, however insists that its product is safe for use. Though Johnson & Johnson has plans to move the suit to appeal, they are currently facing approximately over 1,200 claims of a similar nature. On top of this, the pharmaceutical company lost a similar case in February, which resulted in a $72 million verdict. The frightening part about all of this litigation is that baby powder with potentially cancer causing ingredients still sits on store shelves today.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice, or medical product failure, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the legal professionals at Gilman & Bedigian today.

About the Author

Charles Gilman

As managing partner and co-founder of Gilman & Bedigian, it is my mission to help our clients recover and get their lives back on track. I strongly believe that every person who is injured by a wrongful act deserves compensation, and I will do my utmost to bring recompense to those who need and deserve it.

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