After a four-week trial in the first of hundreds of similar cases filed in California, a Los Angeles jury awarded a $417 million verdict to a California woman, finding a connection between her ovarian cancer and the Johnson & Johnson baby powder she used for decades.
Doctors diagnosed Eva Echeverria with ovarian cancer 10 years ago. According to a videotaped deposition played for the jury, the 63-year-old Echeverria began using the company’s baby powder for feminine hygiene when she was 11 years old and only stopped in 2016 after watching a news story about a woman with ovarian cancer who had also used the product. Ms. Echeverria testified that had Johnson & Johnson put a warning on the product, she would have stopped using it.
The breakdown of liability in the jury verdict was:
- Johnson & Johnson – $68 million compensatory damages
- Johnson & Johnson – $340 million punitive damages
- Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. – $2 million compensatory damages
- Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. – $7 million punitive damages
Total Punitive Damages – $347 million
Total Compensatory Damages – $70 million
The closely watched trial began on July 26 and is part of the consolidated Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Cases, case number JCCP4872, in the Superior Court of California for Los Angeles County. Echeverria is represented by Mark P. Robinson Jr., Kevin F. Calcagnie, Scot Wilson and Cynthia Garber of Robinson Calcagnie Inc.; Allen Smith of The Smith Law Firm; Ted Meadows, David Dearing and Ryan Beattie of Beasley Allen Law Firm; Helen Zukin from Kiesel Law Firm; and Michelle A. Parfitt of Ashcraft & Gerel LLP.
The next trial involving similar claims against Johnson & Johnson will be presented by Beasley Allen in St. Louis in October 2017.