A court in Los Angeles has awarded record $417 million to 63-year-old Eva Echeverria who claimed Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder caused her ovarian cancer.
The jury awarded $68 million in compensatory damages and $340 million in punitive damages to Echeverria, who is currently in hospital fighting for her life.
In her lawsuit, Echeverria had blamed her terminal illness on Johnson’s Baby Powder, which she used for decades starting at age 11.
According to court documents, Johnson’s failed to adequately warn consumers about talcum powder’s potential cancer risks. She used the company’s baby powder on a daily basis beginning in the 1950s until 2016 and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007.
Echeverria developed ovarian cancer as a “proximate result of the unreasonably dangerous and defective nature of talcum powder,” she said in her lawsuit. Echeverria’s 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. She really didn’t want sympathy. She just wanted to get a message out to help these other women.”
Researchers in the early 1970s discovered talc particles in ovarian tumors. In 1982, Harvard researcher Daniel Cramer, and subsequent studies, found an increased risk of ovarian cancer among regular users of talcum powder.
Cramer, who has become a frequent expert witness for women suing the company, is said to have advised Johnson’s to put a warning on its products, but the company didn’t listen.
The jury award is the biggest yet against Johnson & Johnson’s, which has lost most of a half-dozen trials involving claims that its Baby Powder and Shower to Shower powder cause ovarian cancer.
In May, a court in St. Louis, Missouri awarded $110.5 million to a Virginia woman who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012. The woman also blamed her illness on her use of Johnson’s talcum powder.