Johnson & Johnson is ordered to pay $417m (£323.4m) by the Los Angeles Jury to a woman who says she developed ovarian cancer after using products such as baby powder.
The judgment in the lawsuit brought by the Californian woman, Eva Echeverria, marks the largest sum awarded in a series of talc u m powder lawsuit verdicts against Johnson & Johnson in courts around the U.S.
Echeverria, 63, is one of the thousands of women who have sued the consumer products giant Johnson & Johnson claiming baby powder caused their disease, pointing to studies linking talc to cancer that date to 1971 when scientists in Wales discovered particles of talc embedded in ovarian and cervical tumors.
Johnson & Johnson said the safety of talc was supported by decades of scientific evidence
According to the court doc u ments, Echeverria developed ovarian cancer as a "proximate result of the unreasonably dangerous and defective nature of talc u m powder.”
Echeverria's attorney said that his client is undergoing cancer treatment while hospitalized and told him she hoped the decision would lead Johnson & Johnson to put additional warnings on its products.
Attorney Mark Robinson said, "Mrs. Echeverria is dying from this ovarian cancer and she said to me all she wanted to do was to help the other women throughout the whole country who have ovarian cancer for using Johnson & Johnson for 20 and 30 years.”
Eva Echeverria is undergoing cancer treatment
Robinson said that the Los Angeles jury's award included $68 million in compensatory damages and $340 million in punitive damages. The evidence in the case included internal doc u ments from several decades that "showed the jury that Johnson & Johnson knew about the risks of talc and ovarian cancer," Robinson added.
Until this day, more than 1,000 other people have filed similar lawsuits. Some who won their lawsuits won much lower amounts, illustrating how juries have wide latitude in awarding monetary damages.
Johnson & Johnson is reportedly preparing to defend itself and its baby powder at upcoming trials in the U.S., Goodrich said.