Johnson & Johnson To Appeal $72M Jury Verdict (NYSE:JNJ)
Johnson & Johnson is reportedly planning to appeal a verdict by a Missouri state jury to pay $72 million in damages to the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer. The Alabama woman, Jackie Fox, died from ovarian cancer allegedly caused by using the company’s Baby Powder and other products that contained talc for feminine hygiene. A St. Louis jury awarded the family $10 million in actual damages and $62 million in punitive damages.
An attorney for the Fox family said this is the first claim case to result in monetary compensation, although it is not the first case to be tried. Back in October of 2013, a federal jury in Sioux Falls, South Dakota found that the use of Johnson & Johnson’s body powder products was a factor in plaintiff Deane Berg’s development of ovarian cancer. However, no damages were awarded in the case.
Hundreds of women have sued Johnson & Johnson for failure to inform consumers about the dangers of talc, which is found in many of the company’s products. The company is still facing 1,200 pending lawsuits. Lawyers have claimed that the company was aware of the possible risk of using products containing talc for feminine hygienic use. According to an internal memo from a company medical consultant back in 1997, those who deny the risk of using hygienic talc and ovarian cancer is “denying the obvious in the face of all evidence to the contrary.”
Health giant Johnson & Johnson is currently evaluating its legal options, according to company spokeswoman Carol Goodrich. In a statement, the company said that it stands by the talc used in all “global products.” The information on talc powder came out many years ago when it was discovered that talc was incorporated in tissue of women with ovarian cancer. However, in the past, talcum powder contained talc that contained asbestos, while modern powders do not.