Jury awards cancer victim a record $417 million in baby-powder lawsuit

Jury awards cancer victim a record $417 million in baby-powder lawsuit

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Johnson & Johnson has been sued by more than 1,000 women who allege the company's baby powder is linked to cancer. Johnson & Johnson insists the powder is safe. (Johnson & Johnson)

WASHINGTON – Johnson & Johnson said it would appeal a Los Angeles jury’s decision on Monday to award $417 million to a woman who alleged that her ovarian cancer  is linked to the company’s baby powder.

The judgment includes $347 million in punitive damages against Johnson & Johnson. The award was the largest by far of several against the company over its baby powder. More than 1,000 women have filed lawsuits.

In the latest verdict, 63-year-old Eva Echeverria alleged that Johnson & Johnson was aware of potential dangers from regularly using its talcum-based products for personal hygiene but refused to warn the public.

The plaintiff’s attorney, Mark Robinson, said his terminally ill client was too ill to attend the trial and was in the hospital undergoing cancer treatment.

Robinson said Echeverria used Johnson’s Baby Powder up to twice a day for 41 years, even after she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007. She stopped using the powder in February of 2016, after she saw a news report about a woman who sued after allegedly becoming ill from talcum-based products.

The plaintiff’s attorney said he thinks the jury was swayed in part by Johnson & Johnson’s own documents, dating back to 1964, that discuss the risk of using talcum powder for feminine hygiene. He said his client wants the company to start warning women about the risk.

A Johnson & Johnson spokesperson said the company deeply sympathizes with the women and families impacted by ovarian cancer, but would appeal the verdict “because we are guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder.”

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