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St. Louis jury awards $55M in Johnson & Johnson cancer suit



Johnson & Johnson has suffered its second costly court defeat in less than three months over claims its talcum powder caused cancer. And many more cases are looming.

A jury in St. Louis awarded $55 million in damages to Gloria Ristesund, who used Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder for more than 35 years before being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2011.

“Internal documents from J & J show it knew of studies connecting talc use and ovarian cancer but, to this day, it continues to market it as safe — neglecting any warning,” The Onder Law Firm, which represented Ristesund, said in a statement.



Johnson & Johnson said it plans to appeal the verdict.

“Multiple scientific and regulatory reviews have determined that talc is safe for use in cosmetic products and the labeling on Johnson’s Baby Powder is appropriate,” Carol Goodrich, a spokesperson for Johnson & Johnson Consumer, said in a statement.

In February, a jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $72 million to the family of Jackie Fox. Fox died of ovarian cancer in 2015.

The trials are part of a legal action that includes nearly 50 plaintiffs, suggesting Johnson & Johnson could face additional penalties.

New Jersey-based Johnson & Johnson will appeal the latest ruling.

“Unfortunately, the jury’s decision goes against 30 years of studies by medical experts around the world that continue to support the safety of cosmetic talc,” Johnson & Johnson spokeswoman Carol Goodrich said in a statement.

“For over 100 years, Johnson & Johnson has provided consumers with a safe choice for cosmetic powder products and we will continue to work hard to exceed consumer expectations and evolving product preferences.”

But Jim Onder, attorney for the plaintiff, Gloria Ristesund, said researchers began linking talcum powder to ovarian cancer in the 1970s, and that internal Johnson & Johnson documents show the company was aware of those studies.

“The evidence is real clear that Johnson & Johnson has known about the dangers associated with talcum powder for over 30 years,” Onder said. “Instead of giving a warning, what they did was targeted the groups most at risk for developing ovarian cancer,” specifically marketing to overweight women, blacks and Hispanics, he said.

Johnson & Johnson faces at least 1,200 still-pending talcum powder lawsuits, including about 1,000 in St. Louis and 200 in New Jersey, Onder said.

Sources:

ABC

MSN

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