Following two trials resulting in multi-million dollar verdicts against Johnson & Johnson – including $112 million in punitive damages – Jere L. Beasley, Principal & Founder of Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., is calling on the company to put an end to the ongoing talcum powder litigation and also to remove its talcum powder products from store shelves, or at least to warn women about the cancer risks.
“It is time for Johnson & Johnson to face reality, admit the truth that the company has hidden for decades, and end the litigation by taking care of the thousands of women harmed by its talcum powder products,” Beasley said. “The message these juries are sending is loud and clear. They are demanding that Johnson & Johnson must warn women of the dangerous link between talcum powder used for feminine hygiene and its well-documented increased risk of ovarian cancer.”
On May 2, a jury in the City of St. Louis Circuit Court found Johnson & Johnson liable for ovarian cancer linked to genital use of its talcum powder products. The jurors awarded Gloria Ristesund $55 million, which included $5 million in actual damages and $50 million in punitive damages. In February, another jury awarded the family of Jacqueline Fox $72 million, holding Johnson & Johnson liable for her ovarian cancer death. In that verdict, $62 million was punitive damages. The purpose of awarding punitive damages is to punish a company for wrongdoing and to compel it to change its actions.
“Gloria Ristesund and the family of Jacqueline Fox have made it very clear – they want other women to be warned about this cancer risk,” Beasley said. “The juries saw documents that proved Johnson & Johnson has known for decades about these risks, and that they not only didn’t do anything to warn consumers, they purposefully refused to warn, and covered up the risks. There are other products on the market that work in a similar way, that use cornstarch instead of talc. But yet Johnson & Johnson still sells talc and insists there is no danger.”
Documents shown to the jury during the trial indicated that Johnson & Johnson’s own consultants advised the company that numerous scientific studies supported a link between genital use of talcum powder and an increased risk of ovarian cancer. In a letter dated in 1997, Dr. Alfred Wehner, a paid Johnson & Johnson consultant, warns a Johnson & Johnson executive that anyone who continued to deny the evidence presented by these studies “…will be perceived by the public like it perceives the cigarette industry: denying the obvious in the face of all evidence to the contrary.” There are a multitude of internal documents revealing that Johnson & Johnson knew of the cancer risk associated with its talc products.
An estimated 25,000 women are diagnosed each year with ovarian cancer, and more than 14,000 die. The disease strikes about one in 70 women, though studies show that women who use talc-containing products on their genitals have a one in 50 chance of developing the disease. Expert testimony at trial revealed at least 45,000 women have died as a result of ovarian cancer that could be attributed to talcum powder use on the genitals, and an estimated 2,500 women will die within the next year as a result of talc use.
“It’s now time for Johnson & Johnson to bring this massive litigation to an end by doing the right thing,” Beasley says. “We are calling on the bosses at Johnson & Johnson to establish a compensation fund that will be adequate to compensate all of the thousands of victims who have suffered greatly because of Johnson & Johnson’s intentional wrongdoing. We are also calling on this company to either pull the talc products from the market or at the very least give an adequate warning to women so they can make an informed choice. If Johnson & Johnson refuses, our law firm and those other firms working with us are dedicated to continuing our mission, and that is to obtain total and complete justice for all of Johnson & Johnson’s victims. The ball is in their court, and our hope is Johnson & Johnson will change its corporate culture and do the right thing.”
Join The Fight!
Let your voice be heard, and sign the petition to ask Johnson & Johnson to release the internal documents revealing the link between talcum powder and cancer. A St. Louis jury has seen the evidence, which ultimately led them to award a $72 million verdict. Hundreds have signed, but we need thousands – tens of thousands – of signatures to get the industry’s attention. So, please take a brief moment and do something that can change lives forever. Please sign and share the petition with your friends and colleagues, and say to J&J, #TellTheTalcTruth!