This December, the daughter of a woman who died in 2014 filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson for failing to warn consumers about the increased risks of ovarian cancer that have been associated with talc, a naturally occurring mineral and the main ingredient in the company’s baby powder.
Amy Darnold filed the lawsuit two years after her mother, Ann Christine Underwood, was diagnosed in November 2014 with Stage IIIC ovarian cancer. Underwood had used the Johnson and Johnson baby powder for feminine hygiene for nearly 50 years. The lawsuit asks for compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and wrongful death along with punitive damages.
The lawsuit alleges that “Ms. Underwood developed ovarian cancer and suffered effects attendant thereto, including her premature death, as a direct and proximate result of the unreasonably dangerous and defective nature of talcum powder, and defendants’ wrongful and negligent conduct in the research, development, testing, manufacture, production, promotion, distribution, marketing, and sale of talcum powder.”
There have been studies since the early ‘70s linking the mineral talc to the development of ovarian cancer when the powder is used on or around the groin. Cornstarch based baby powder is considered by many to be a safer alternative, which Johnson & Johnson also manufactures, but its talcum powder continues to produce higher sales.
As the fifth-leading cause of cancer death in women, ovarian cancer afflicts around 24,000 in the US annually. In 2008, a Harvard epidemiologist conducted a study on the effects of talc on rates of ovarian cancer which concluded that “women who use talcum powder weekly face a 33 percent increase in risk for ovarian cancer. When used daily, the risk is 41 percent.”
This past year, Johnson & Johnson has been involved in a series of lawsuits in which they have been forced to pay substantial awards to families of victims of ovarian cancer. The first state-court case occurred in February of 2016, when the family of Jackie Fox was awarded $72 million after her battle with ovarian cancer. She had used Johnson & Johnson talcum baby powder for three decades.
Just three months later, a second jury trial awarded $55 million to a woman, Gloria Ristesund, for her lawsuit concerning ovarian cancer. Then again, in October 2016, another woman, Deborah Giannecchini, was awarded over $70 million for her lawsuit.
“I hope that Johnson & Johnson will step up and take responsibility,” said Giannecchini, “and post a warning on their product that says this is not as safe as you may think it is and think about it before you decide to use this product.”
At the time, it was reported that Johnson & Johnson had 1,700 pending lawsuits in state and federal courts, accusing them of ignoring substantial research and scientific evidence linking talc to ovarian cancer.
If a company’s negligence has caused you or a loved one harm, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the office of trial attorneys Charles Gilman and Briggs Bedigian today at (800) 529-6162 or contact them online. The firm handles cases in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.
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