Johnson & Johnson was recently ordered to pay $72 million in health damages to the family of an Alabama woman who died from ovarian cancer. The Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder and other company products contained talcum for feminine hygiene, which allegedly gave the female cancer.
A St. Louis jury reached the verdict Monday night, awarding the family of Jackie Fox, $10 million in actual damages and $62 million in punitive damages, AP reported.
After her cancer diagnosis, Fox, who lived in Birmingham, Ala., joined dozens of women suing the company for what they said was a failure to inform consumers about the dangers of talc, which is found in baby powder.
During the trial, Fox’s lawyers claimed that the company was aware of the possible risk of using products containing talcum for feminine hygienic use.
A 1997 internal memo from a company medical consultant said “anybody who denies” the risk of using hygienic talc and ovarian cancer is “denying the obvious in the face of all evidence to the contrary,” AP reported.
Fox’s son, Marvin Salter of Jacksonville, Fla., took over the claim after his mother’s death in 2015, two years after her cancer diagnosis, AP reported.
An attorney for Fox said this is the first claim case to result in monetary compensation.
Carol Goodrich, a Johnson & Johnson spokesperson, said the company stands by the talc used in all “global products” and they are “evaluating” their legal options.
“The recent U.S. verdict goes against decades of sound science proving the safety of talc as a cosmetic ingredient in multiple products, and while we sympathize with the family of the plaintiff, we strongly disagree with the outcome,” Goodrich said in a statement.
Nora Freeman Engstrom, a Stanford University law professor, told AP the decision “doesn’t bode well” for the company, which is facing 1,200 still-pending lawsuits.
The company is expected to appeal the verdict, AP reported.
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