MESSAGE SENT: Jury Hammers Johnson & Johnson with $4.69 Billion Talcum Powder Verdict

It took a St. Louis jury less than 8 hours of deliberation to award $550 million in compensatory damages to 22 women who claimed Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based baby powder contains asbestos and substantially contributed to their development of ovarian cancer. It took that same jury less than an hour to hit J&J with $4.14 billion in punitive damages for failing to sufficiently warn consumers about the product’s cancer risks.

The message to J&J was clear: its signature product is not safe.

The trial started in early June and was the first multi-plaintiff trial in the St. Louis talcum powder litigation. Testimony spanned over five weeks and arguments centered on the question of whether J&J’s talc-based baby powder contains asbestos and whether consistent usage could lead to ovarian cancer. It marked the first St. Louis talcum powder trial to include the claim that J&J’s talc-based baby powder contains asbestos. In what was perhaps a telling sign, J&J’s talcum supplier Imerys settled with the 22 plaintiffs for $5 million prior to trial.

Judge's gavelJust over two weeks ago, plaintiffs’ counsel dropped a bombshell when they introduced evidence that J&J and Imerys had secretly funded a talcum powder study that dismissed claims that the product can cause ovarian cancer. Plaintiffs also introduced evidence that J&J has known its talcum powder could contain asbestos since the early 1970s yet failed to warn consumers of the potential risks.

Talc, which is considered “possibly carcinogenic” by the World Health Organization, is mined from the earth and can naturally form alongside asbestos. While J&J claimed their own internal testing consistently showed their talc-based baby powder did not contain asbestos, the jury ultimately sided with the plaintiffs’ studies showing that talcum powder can be laced with the toxic mineral.

The verdict is the fifth plaintiff win in the six trials in the St. Louis talcum powder litigation. All 22 plaintiffs had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and claimed that their disease was caused in part by years of perineal talcum powder usage. Sadly, six of the plaintiffs had already passed away.

GoldenbergLaw is currently investigating the use of talcum powder and its link to ovarian cancer.  Contact GoldenbergLaw for referral opportunities.


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The Next Bellwether Bard IVC Filter Trial Slated for September 2018

Federal Judge David Campbell of Arizona issued Case Management Order 34 on June 28 announcing that the next four Bellwether trials in the Bard IVC Filter MDL will be the Kruse, Hyde, Mulkey and Tinlin cases.

IVC filterThe Mulkey case was supposed to be the next trial but the plaintiff has been having health concerns. Therefore, Judge Campbell decided that the Kruse trial would start September 18, 2018. Hyde will begin on November 5, 2018, and Mulkey will now be held in February 2019. The Tinlin case will be the sixth bellwether trial and it will start in May 2019.

The Kruse case involves a G2 filter “non-fracture” case. The Hyde (G2x Filter), Mulkey (Eclipse Filter), and Tinlin (Recovery Filter) all involve situations where the filter fractured.

Bellwether trials are designed to provide the parties predictive insight into what would happen with certain fact situations. Because the Bard IVC filters involve generations of filters (Recovery, G2, G2x, Eclipse, etc.), different evidence has been allowed by Judge Campbell based on the different types of filters. For example, in the Booker case, the first trial ending in a $3.6 million verdict for the plaintiffs, evidence of deaths related to the Recovery filter and evidence of caudal migration was allowed. In the Jones trial, the second trial involving an Eclipse filter resulting in a defense verdict after the jury was deadlocked, the Court did not allow this evidence to be heard by the jury.

Plaintiffs have continually fought to have the Recovery death evidence and caudal migration evidence admitted in all cases since all the filters were based off of the Recovery Filter design and modified over time. This will continue to be a battle in each case.

Senior Partner Stuart Goldenberg was appointed to the Plaintiff’s Steering Committee for the Bard IVC Filters and is helping to litigate these claims for people injured by defective filters.