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Jon Lewis
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First Talcum Powder Verdict

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On Feb. 22, 2016, a jury in City of St. Louis, Mo., Circuit Court found Johnson & Johnson liable for the development of Plaintiff Jacqueline Fox’s ovarian cancer and awarded her family a verdict of $72 million. Ms. Fox passed away from ovarian cancer in October 2015. She used talc-containing products for 35 years. The verdict includes $10 million in actual damages and $62 million in punitive damages.

This was the first time a jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay damages over these claims, but it is not the first time that the company has been handed a guilty verdict. J & J was found liable in a 2013 product liability lawsuit in South Dakota, where a jury found in favor of plaintiff Deane Berg on her claim that Johnson & Johnson did not adequately warn consumers of the link between talc and ovarian cancer.

Ms. Berg was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2006. Her cancerous tissue was examined by three doctors using a scanning electron microscope. The physicians discovered talc on the ovaries, concluding that the talcum particles were able to migrate through the vagina, uterus and fallopian tubes to the ovaries. When the ovaries became inflamed from the talcum particles, the growth of cancer cells began.

Even after this litigation Johnson & Johnson refused to add warning labels to its products.