Talcum Powder Lawsuit Verdict: J&J Wins a Rare Battle In Its War Against Plaintiffs

Talcum Powder Lawsuit Verdict: J&J Wins a Rare Battle In Its War Against Plaintiffs

When it comes to the talcum powder lawsuit verdict, the courts have not been kind to Johnson and Johnson (J&J) in recent hearings. The company started out March with a win, however, as a St. Louis jury dismissed the latest ovarian cancer claim against one of J&J’s signature products. 

Eleven of twelve jurors at the March 3rd hearing ruled in favor of the pharmaceutical giant, which marked a rare victory in the onslaught of litigation against J&J in St. Louis. Successive awards ranging from $55-72 million have rocked the New Jersey-based company in recent years and have only added momentum to the thousands of plaintiffs awaiting their day in court.

In past cases, J&J has been deemed negligent due to its failure to warn consumers of the links between talcum powder and ovarian cancer.

This month’s verdict was different, establishing no direct relationship between the form of cancer suffered by Nora Daniels, the plaintiff, and the talc she had applied for decades. As a long-time user of the product and with a lack of medical evidence connecting it with her condition, more than enough of the jurors were convinced to dismiss her claims.

The decision marks an important win for J&J, albeit an isolated one in the context of the many complaints yet to be addressed.

With more than 2,500 lawsuits still pending in the state court, there is a long way to go before the legal question marks over talcum powder are resolved one way or the other. In many cases like this, the pharma defendant would simply settle out of court. The difficulty for J&J is that

In many cases like this, the pharma defendant would simply settle out of court. The difficulty for J&J is that talc is such a widespread product and a brand synonymous with the company name. Admitting fault, even in the indirect manner that comes with settlements, would deal a blow to brand reputation.

From the consumer’s perspective, however, this approach is even more offensive. J&J continues to sell a product that has repeated links to ovarian cancer. Furthermore, it refuses to heed the multi-million dollar judgments against that product, instead choosing to focus on limited victories like this one.

In the broader context, there are going to be many more legal bruises to talcum powder’s reputation, even if its manufacturer scores a few wins along the way. The smarter move for Johnson & Johnson would be to protect consumers first, then worry about restoring the name of its popular product.

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