Ovarian cancer victim, Eva Echeverria, awarded $417 million in lawsuit against Johnson and Johnson baby powder maker
Mega damage awarded to terminally ill woman in baby talcum powder ovarian cancer link suit against manufacturer
Eva Echeverria, 63, who used talc-based Johnson’s baby powder since age 11, claims the product gave her ovarian cancer
L.A. jury sided with Echeverria and awarded her damages against Johnson and Johnson, manufacturers of the cancer-linked talc, Monday
Too sick to appear in court, she was awarded $70million in compensatory damages and $357million in punitive damages, – total $417m
Eva Echeverria, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007, after using Johnson and Johnson’s baby talc most of her life
A Los Angeles jury issued a $417-million verdict Monday against Johnson & Johnson, finding the company liable for failing to warn a 63-year-old woman diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer about the risks of using its talcum products.
The verdict marks the largest award yet in a number of suits claiming that the company’s talc powder causes ovarian cancer. More than 300 lawsuits are pending in California and more than 4,500 claims in the rest of the country, alleging that the healthcare giant ignored studies linking its Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products to cancer.
The plaintiff, Eva Echeverria, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007. A surgeon removed a softball-sized tumor, but Echeverria is now near death and was unable to attend the trial, one of her attorneys said.
Johnson and Johnson must pay $417 million to plaintiff who claims she developed ovarian cancer after using Johnson’s Baby Powder for the majority of her life
In a video-recorded deposition played for the jury, the plaintiff she testified she used the Johnson’s Baby Powder from age 11 until 2016, when she saw a news story about a woman with ovarian cancer who had also used the product. The talc is one of the company’s best-known products, marketed at one point with the jingle, “A sprinkle a day helps keep the odor away.”
Eva Echeverria, 63, from East Los Angeles, used the powder as a feminine hygiene product for decades. Too sick to appear in court, she was awarded $70million in compensatory damages and $357million in punitive damages, totaling $417million.
“Ovarian cancer is a devastating diagnosis and we deeply sympathize with the women and families impacted by this disease,” Carol Goodrich, spokeswoman for Johnson & Johnson, said in a statement. But, she added, “We will appeal today’s verdict because we are guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder.”
In Feb 2016 a Missouri jury awarded the family of Jacqueline Fox $72 million after her lawyer argued that Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder caused her death from ovarian cancer
There are about 4,800 similar claims nationally, including four lawsuits in Missouri where Johnson & Johnson dished out more than $300 million total in damages. The largest payout in those cases was $110 million. The plaintiff in one of those cases, who was awarded $72 million in damages, died before the payout.
The issue of whether talcum powder directly causes ovarian cancer is hotly debated. Talc is a naturally occurring clay mineral composed of magnesium, silicon, oxygen, and hydrogen. It is closely associated with asbestos, the two are found in the same places, but stricter quality control has meant that there has been no asbestos in talcum powder products since the 1970s.
According to the National Cancer Institute there is not enough evidence to support a direct relationship between asbestos-free talc and ovarian cancer. The Institute’s stand points to a study by the Women’s Health Initiative in which only 0.7% of the women using talcum powder developed ovarian cancer.
However, The International Agency for Research on Cancer has a different view. The Agency said that talcum powder is “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”
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