Johnson & Johnson (J&J) was ordered on Monday by a Los Angeles jury to pay a record of $417 million to a woman who complained before a court case that she developed ovarian cancer after using the talc in the company’s baby power for feminine hygiene.
The verdict in favor of California woman Eva Echeverria was the largest amount in talcum powder lawsuits involving J&J around the United States.
According to court papers, Echeverria used the company’s baby powder daily from 1950s until 2016 and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007.
In her lawsuit, Echeverria developed ovarian cancer as “proximate result of the unreasonably dangerous and defective nature of talcum powder.”
She accused the company of failure to caution customers about the dangers of developing cancer with the usage of their talc-based products.
Lawyers for Echeverria said on hearings that J&J encourages women to use its talc products in spite of their knowledge of studies suggesting genital talc used can be associated with ovarian cancer.
The decision of the court involved $68 million in compensatory damages and $340 million in penal damages, Mark Robinson, Echeverria’s Lawyer, said.
J&J Spokesperson Carol Goodrich said the company will petition the decision of the court. Though the company understands the suffering of women from the ovarian cancer, she said scientific evidence backs the safety and protection of Johnson’s baby powder.
“We will appeal today’s verdict because we are guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder,” Goodrich said in a statement.
J&J’s lawyers claimed that numerous scientific studies and national agencies including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have not branded talc products as carcinogenic.
It followed several trials in Missouri state court where J&J lost four of five prior trials and along with a talc supplier has been hit with a total of $307 million in verdicts. Before Monday, the largest verdict was for $110 million.