In an unprecedented move in St. Louis, Missouri, a jury found Johnson & Johnson liable in a civil suit concerning many of their products containing talcum powder this past Monday. At the center of the case, a man from Birmingham, Alabama spoke out again the well-known maker of personal care products. The victim he was fighting for was his mother, a woman who, at the age of 62, passed away from ovarian cancer. The lawsuit alleged that her cancer was linked to the use of Johnson & Johnson products, which she had used for decades.
The controversy surrounding talcum powder as an ingredient in cosmetic products has intensified in recent years. Since the late 1990’s there have been numerous lawsuits aimed at the hygiene giant, focusing on the use of questionable ingredients in their products. Talcum powder is made from talc, a naturally occurring mineral that has been used since the turn of the century in powder and lotions to improve their texture. To date, studies attempting to link talc or talcum powder to cancer have been inconclusive. However, a Johnson & Johnson memo introduced as part of the Missouri case indicates that some employees of the company may have believed otherwise.
While the amount of Monday’s lawsuit is quite large by industry standards, it may be a sign of things to come for Johnson & Johnson. Roughly five years ago the company agreed to discontinue to use of at least two probable carcinogens in the formulas for their skin care products. If this most recent lawsuit stands up in appellate court, talcum powder may be the next ingredient cut from the list.
There are currently over 1,200 similar cases currently in different stages of civil court against Johnson & Johnson, many of them over the use of talcum powder in their products. The sheer magnitude of the number of outstanding cases, paired with the fact that the Missouri jury found the evidence compelling enough to convict Johnson & Johnson of negligence could mean that future plaintiffs may not have such a large burden of proof to bear against the personal care products company.
James O. Cunningham
Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.
Connect with James O. Cunningham on Google+