After decades of litigation and thousands of consumer complaints, the Johnson and Johnson baby powder lawsuit has finally reached a tipping point. The product is now out of production and the company will pay $2.1 billion to individuals who claim the talc-based product caused their ovarian cancer. Read on for details regarding the ongoing case and find out how Huber Thomas & Marcelle can assist in similar cases.
J&J loses $417 million in California’s first talc verdict case
In the 2017 case of Echeverria v. Johnson & Johnson, the company was ordered by a Los Angeles jury to pay $417 million to 62-year-old Eva Echeverria.
Echeverria started using Johnson and Johnson’s talc powder products when she was 11 and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007. According to Echeverria’s attorneys, the lawsuit stemmed from the company's alleged ignoring of studies that linked the baby powder and Shower to Shower talc products to ovarian cancer. Further, they maintain that the company failed to warn customers about the risk.
Today, Johnson and Johnson continues to claim that these allegations do not hold weight when it comes to sufficient scientific evidence. A New Jersey state court tossed out two similar cases set for trial after the judge said that evidence linking talc to ovarian cancer was inadequate. This was a temporary boost in the messaging Johnson and Johnson had attempted to push in fighting related lawsuits.
However, in the end, the $417 million verdict in Los Angeles included $347 million in punitive damages and $70 million in compensatory damages. What’s more, it marked the beginning of clients getting justice in their own Johnson and Johnson lawsuit matters. The trial in Los Angeles was the first before a state jury outside of Missouri. That’s where the company lost four out of five trials over two years, resulting in verdicts as high as $110 million.
Unfortunately, Echeverria passed away shortly after the trial came to an end.
Updates on the Johnson and Johnson baby powder lawsuit
While there was sufficient evidence to uphold the jury’s finding in Echeverria v. Johnson & Johnson, an appeals court granted the company a new trial in 2019. The Los Angeles-based court cited conflicting evidence about the baby powder’s cancer links.
According to California Superior Court Judge Maren Nelson, Johnson and Johnson could not be held liable for failure to warn, only the subsidiary that manufactured the product would have the duty of disclosing any and all risks. The appeals court also made claims that the evidence failed to support a finding of malice, which is a legal requirement for cases involving punitive damages.
Regardless of her death, Echeverria’s attorney has vowed to follow through and continue the fight, and he’s not alone. In June 2020, a Missouri appeals court ordered Johnson and Johnson to pay $2.1 billion to more than two dozen women.
Much like Echeverria’s case, Johnson and Johnson appealed the verdict, requesting the court throw out the decision. Fortunately, the court declined, citing “significant reprehensibility” in the company’s conduct.
Evidence from as far back as the 1960s demonstrated that the company’s talcum products contained asbestos, a known carcinogen. The ruling stated:
“A reasonable inference from all this evidence is that, motivated by profits, defendants disregarded the safety of consumers despite their knowledge the talc in their products caused ovarian cancer.”
The plaintiffs “showed clear and convincing evidence defendants engaged in conduct that was outrageous because of evil motive or reckless indifference,” the court said.
The attorney representing the women noted that several of them passed away before the ruling, as well as immediately after. This has only furthered the mission of attorneys across the U.S. to seek justice for their clients. For those who have suffered from cancer as a result of using these products, each Johnson and Johnson baby powder lawsuit is a critical step in the right direction
Lawsuits lead to a big win for consumers
While different lawsuits for damages are still underway in various states, there has been another recent victory for consumers. In May 2020, Johnson and Johnson announced the discontinuation of talc-based baby powder in the U.S. and Canada.
The company still maintains the position that these lawsuits are the result of confusion and misinformation. However, winding down the commercialization of the baby powder has begun. Existing inventory on the shelves will only remain until it runs out, but production in the U.S. and Canada has stopped.
For consumers, this is exciting news. It demonstrates the important role plaintiffs play in holding companies accountable. This type of victory ensures the safety of adults and children alike as it removes a harmful product from the shelves. There is the hope that production will end worldwide, thus removing these products from shelves globally.
Were you affected?
At Huber Thomas & Marcelle, we have years of experience dealing with matters of product liability and harmful products. We pride ourselves on being tireless advocates for our clients when they deserve support. It’s always our goal to help you reach an outcome that will help you move forward with your life.
While we were not directly involved in the original Johnson and Johnson baby powder lawsuit, we can assist in a search for class-action lawsuits that may be available to you. Even as related cases come to a close, there are still more victories to be had.
If you have cancer and believe it may be tied to the use of the products discussed here, you may have grounds for filing a Johnson and Johnson lawsuit. Contact us today to learn more.
Our approach to product liability cases in healthcare
The Johnson and Johnson talc lawsuit is particularly noteworthy, but there are many other healthcare and personal care companies facing similar claims of unsafe products.
At Huber Thomas & Marcelle, we fight for victims who have been harmed by defective medical devices, dangerous drugs, and other unsafe products. We're prepared to take on large companies by working with a team of world-class experts. Our goal is to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve and that those who have done harm are held accountable.
We represent clients in the following types of cases.
Unsafe product claims
Unsafe product claims can involve automobiles, watercraft, children’s toys, child safety seats, industrial machinery, recreational products, tires, safety or sporting equipment, and more. When manufacturing defects, design flaws, and lack of proper warning labels and information lead to injury or harm, compensation may be in order.
For example, Huber Thomas & Marcelle represented hundreds of military service members against 3M for providing allegedly defective earplugs. These claims arise from the fact that the 3M earplugs, distributed as the sole earplug to U.S. military service members between 2003 and 2015, were too short for proper insertion into the ears, putting users at risk for permanent hearing loss, hearing impairment, and tinnitus.
In July 2018, the Department of Justice announced that 3M had agreed to pay $9.1 million to resolve allegations that it knowingly sold the earplugs without disclosing defects that hampered their effectiveness.
If you are a service member who was diagnosed with hearing loss and/or tinnitus after serving in the U.S. military between 2003 and 2015, we encourage you to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer at Huber Thomas & Marcelle today. Learn more about this case here.
If a drug is irresponsibly marketed, insufficiently tested, or incorrectly prescribed, the outcome can be devastating. The repercussions of dangerous drugs and practices can include birth defects, illness, and even death.
Admittedly, all medications come with a risk of side effects. But one Yale-led study found that “Nearly one out of every three drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have a new safety issue detected in the years after approval.”
Patients expect prescription medication companies to thoroughly test drugs before they go on the market (and clearly explain their risks). When this doesn't happen, patients may be entitled to compensation from drug companies. This can help cover long-term costs related to:
- Ongoing medical care
- Specialized medical equipment
- Lost wages and productivity
- Emotional and mental health challenges
At Huber Thomas & Marcelle, we take these cases seriously because they represent a breach of the trust we hold for our medical professionals. We have advanced experience working with prescription drug injury cases and can advise you on your legal rights.
Defective medical devices
While mistakes happen, manufacturers are obligated to test medical devices extensively before they become a source of serious injury to patients.
Product defects are often the result of rushing a product to market without careful product design and testing. In some cases, individual components are the source of the deficiency. Any device can cause harm, but certain types lead to more adverse events than others.
The Expert Institute found 20 products that lead to the most adverse events. These include:
- Insulin pumps
- Blood glucose tests
- Pacemaker electrodes
- Coronary stents
- Surgical mesh
- Knee prostheses
- Hip prostheses
If you've been harmed by a company's failure to properly test a product, you could be entitled to compensation. Our team of defective medical device lawyers is committed to helping you understand the complexities of bringing a case like this to court.
We’re here to help
When faced with pursuing litigation, you need a team you can trust.
At Huber Thomas & Marcelle, we pride ourselves on being tireless advocates for our clients. We make it our mission to clearly explain everything you need to know. We're always available if you have questions. In fact, we return most calls within 24 hours. With our firm on your side, you can expect help from a team of attorneys with a proven record of success. And, in many cases, you don't pay anything unless we win your case.
You can find more information about our practice areas here, or read answers to some of our most frequently asked questions here. In addition to Louisiana, members of our team are licensed to practice in Mississippi, Texas, Washington D.C., and New York. If you’d like to discuss the details of your case, please contact us for a free consultation.
Originally posted on August 22, 2017.