The plaintiff, Eva Echeverria, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007 after using Johnson’s Baby Powder since the 1950s. She only stopped using it after hearing about other women who developed cancer.
Echeverria recently had a softball-sized tumor removed from her ovaries, but she was too sick to attend the trial. She is currently hospitalized for cancer treatment and hopes the verdict will lead Johnson & Johnson to add warning labels to its talcum powder products.
Lawyers say scientists knew in the 1960s that talcum powder could cause ovarian cancer when women used it in the genital area.
Furthermore, Echeverria’s lawsuit states that studies in 1982 linked the genital use of talcum powder with a 90% increased risk of ovarian cancer.
After two days of deliberation, the jury awarded Echeverria $70 million in compensatory damages and $347 million in punitive damages. Johnson & Johnson was found liable for failing to warn women about the risk of ovarian cancer from using talcum powder for hygiene.
The company faces more than 5,000 lawsuits over its talc products, and has lost 4 other trials in St. Louis totaling more than $300 million. The $417 million verdict in favor of Echeverria is the largest award in the litigation and it was the first baby powder trial in California.