The jury found that Johnson & Johnson failed to warm women over the alleged risk associated with using baby powder and included a verdict of $347 million in punitive damages. Plaintiff, Eva Echeverria, is one of thousands of female plaintiffs who have sued J&J, claiming baby powder caused their cancer. These women have pointed to studies linking talc to cancer. Out of the thousands of lawsuits, only a few have actually made their way to trial but most verdicts have been in favor of the plaintiffs. California was the first state, outside of Missouri where the company has lost 4 out of 5 jury verdict trials in the past two years.
The previous jury verdicts arising out of Missouri have totaled over $300 million against the company. The company plans to appeal the recent verdict.
A spokeswoman for J&J had this to say: “We are guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder,’’ she said. “We are preparing for additional trials in the U.S. and we will continue to defend the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder.”
Plaintiff’s attorneys in the case state that J&J should start warning women of the risks associated with talcum powder right now. Ms. Echeverria, currently age 63, starting using J&J’s talc powder products when she was just 11 years old.
J&J is headquartered in New Brunswick, NJ and continues to refute plaintiff’s allegations. The company claims that all such allegations are not supported by scientific evidence and two NJ cases involving the matter where thrown out by a judge for lack of evidence linking talc to the cancer.
The $417 million verdict was the third-largest jury award in the U.S. for 2017. The case is Echeverria v. Johnson & Johnson, BC628228, Los Angeles County Superior Court.