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California Woman Awarded $70 Million in Talcum Powder Lawsuit

Steve Wagner

Talcum powder lawsuits against healthcare product company Johnson & Johnson (J&J) continue to pile up, with well over 2,000 women filing claims and thousands of additional claims under review by lawyers across the United States. Last week, yet another jury awarded millions to a victim who claimed regular use of talcum powder caused her to develop ovarian cancer. Deborah Giannecchini, of Modesto, California used baby powder as a feminine hygiene product for forty years before being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012. Last week, a jury in St. Louis awarded Giannecchini $70 million in her talcum powder lawsuit.

This talcum powder lawsuit is the fourth time a jury has found J&J in the wrong for failing to inform its customers of a possible link between its baby powder products and ovarian cancer. The first case found wrongdoing but did not award any damages. The two awards prior to the one made for Deborah Giannecchini’s total $127 million. Despite mounting pressure on J&J to include warning labels on their products, they plan to appeal in all three cases. Though they claim to be sympathetic to the victims, they believe science is on their side and that there is not conclusive evidence linking the use of talcum powder products and ovarian cancer.

Evidence of Possible Link Goes Back Over 40 Years

The truth is that J&J is protecting its bottom line at the risk of consumers’ lives. There are at least a dozen studies showing a possible link between talc and cancer. In 1971, 45 years ago, researchers looked at 13 ovarian tumors and found talc particles “deeply embedded” inside. In 1982, an epidemiologist showed a statistical link between the product and the deadly cancer striking women. Twenty-one years after the 1971 study, another research team found that women who regularly used talcum powder as a feminine hygiene product had a risk of ovarian cancer three times that of non-users.

Even the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) states that using talcum powder-based products in the genital area may be “possibly carcinogenic.” It appears internal J&J documents have played an important role in the decisions of juries, giving clear evidence they were aware of the study linkages. One jury foreman said such documents showed the company was “really clear they were hiding something.” The products already carry a warning about inhalation risks, and doctors recommend against the use of baby powder on infants because of these risks.

Victims and Families Hope to Protect Others

Barbara Giannecchini’s award included $2.5 million for her medical bills, pain, and suffering. Punitive damages accounted for $67.5 million of the award, with $65 million ordered from J&J and $2.5 million ordered from talc supplier, Imerys Talc America. These cases are not, however, just about money. For Marvin Salter, whose mother’s case was won four months after her death, it’s about making sure J&J gives its customers a choice by requiring a warning label expressing the possible link to ovarian cancer. J&J continues to fight tooth and nail, spending billions of dollars to refute and settle claims against its products.

The product liability attorneys at Wagner Reese are reviewing talcum powder claims like the one in the above talcum powder lawsuit. We believe it is crucial for companies to warn their customers of known risks, and we are ready to fight for victims’ and consumers’ rights. If you were a regular user of baby powder or talcum powder products and have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, or if you have lost a loved one under similar circumstances, call us today for a free consultation: (888) 204-8440.


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