Jury smacks J&J with $67M in talc-powder damages, its third defeat this year


Johnson & Johnson’s talc powder damages are adding up. In the third verdict this year to go against the company, jurors in St. Louis ordered J&J to pay about $67.5 million to a woman who argued her ovarian cancer was linked to routine talc use.

Deborah Giannecchini, 62, and her attorneys said that, after four decades of using J&J’s talc powder, the plaintiff developed ovarian cancer that now poses a serious risk to her life, Bloomberg reports. It’s one of about 1,700 lawsuits making claims that J&J didn’t do enough to warn consumers about the risks.

The New Jersey-based drugmaker says it “deeply” sympathizes with those affected by ovarian cancer. It’ll appeal the verdict, though, as it is “guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder.”

In its statement, J&J pointed to two cases in New Jersey that were dismissed in September by a judge “who ruled that plaintiffs’ scientific experts could not adequately support their theories." That decision, a spokesperson said, “highlights the lack of credible scientific evidence behind plaintiffs’ allegations.” At the time, the judge said the claims suffered from “multiple deficiencies.”

The ruling in St. Louis--a result of three hours of deliberations--is not the first to go against J&J, however. In February, the company was hit with a $72 million verdict and again in May with $55 million in damages. The most recent verdict was the first to tack J&J’s supplier, Imerys Talc America, with damages. That company will pay $2.5 million following the ruling late last week, according to Bloomberg.

Last month, after a judge dismissed the two cases in New Jersey, J&J pushed to consolidate 18 federal suits there for pretrial work. Among other reasons to head to the state, company attorneys said that a judge there is “most familiar with the issues."

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