When the verdict came down in favor of Jacqueline Fox and her family in the February talcum powder trial, it sent shockwaves through the consumer products division of Johnson & Johnson. Ms. Fox lost her battle with ovarian cancer before she was able to see J&J held responsible for her injuries, but her legacy might just provide justice for thousands of women and their families across the country.
Ms. Fox’s family was awarded $72 million for J&J’s failure to warn consumers of the risks associated with the talc in its baby powder products. The trial highlighted the company’s negligence through internal documents that showed the company knew about the risks, and actively worked to not only conceal the information but to market the products more aggressively.
In the months after the historic baby powder trial, thousands of women and their families across the country have come forward seeking justice. As many as 17,000 individuals reached out to plaintiffs’ lawyers seeking legal advice, and as many as 12,000 of those cases are currently being investigated. Combined with more than 1,000 currently pending talcum powder lawsuits, Johnson & Johnson could be looking at 13,000 lawsuits – and more lawsuits are being filed every day. With the widespread popularity of its baby powder products, the company could eventually be facing tens of thousands of lawsuits.
It’s likely going to get worse as the third talcum powder lawsuit goes to trial this September. Johnson & Johnson will have to overcome more than 20 epidemiological studies that link the talc in its baby powder products to ovarian cancer. This includes a recent study published by the American Association for Cancer Research that found African American women have a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer from the talc in baby powder than other ethnicities at an astonishing rate of 44%.
With two multimillion-dollar payouts so far, J&J has stated it will continue to defend the safety of talcum powder in the upcoming trials.