There is a lot at stake for Johnson & Johnson (J&J) in the baby powder cancer lawsuits. The company is currently facing more than 1,200 lawsuits over its baby powder products with thousands more being investigated. In an effort to mitigate damage, J&J recently requested the claims of fraud and conspiracy be dismissed from a Georgia baby powder lawsuit.
The plaintiff, Brenda Traylor, used J&J’s baby powder products for feminine hygiene for many years before she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in November 2015. She believes the company failed to warn her of the increased risk of developing cancer from its products.
For its part, J&J believes Ms. Traylor failed to provide specific enough evidence to support the claim the company committed fraud. While it is unclear whether or not the fraud and conspiracy claims will be dismissed in this particular case, other cases have been successful in proving J&J committed fraud.
Three baby powder cancer lawsuits have gone to trial so far, and all three found J&J guilty of gross negligence for failure to warn, misrepresentation, and fraud. The particularly damning piece of evidence in past trials was an internal document from the company acknowledging growing consumer mistrust of baby powder. Rather than providing appropriate warnings on labels or changing ingredients to make products safer, the internal document suggested the company begin advertising campaigns to target African American and Hispanic women because they have a high prevalence of use.
J&J is fighting tooth and nail to get these lawsuits under control, but it seems too late for the company. After two multimillion-dollar verdicts so far this year, the company is facing another trial this month, which will be followed by yet another trial in February 2017. Regardless of the company’s success or failure in the upcoming trials, consumers have already made up their mind about the company. Growing distrust has turned off many loyal consumers who are now seeking safer, more natural alternatives to J&J’s products.