Fox vs Johnson & Johnson
In February 2016, a jury in City of St. Louis Circuit Court awarded the family of Plaintiff Jacqueline Fox a verdict of $72 million, holding Johnson & Johnson liable for the woman’s ovarian cancer death. The jury agreed with evidence presented at trial indicating regular use of talcum powder products like Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower body powder for feminine hygiene contributes to an increased risk for the development of ovarian cancer.
Ms. Fox was diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using Johnson’s talc containing products for feminine hygiene for more than 35 years. Ms. Fox passed away shortly before the trial began, in October 2015, at age 62. The jury awarded Ms. Fox’s family $72 million, which includes $10 million in actual damages and $62 million in punitive damages – $1 million for every year of her life.
Johnson & Johnson was found liable for failure to warn, negligence and conspiracy.
Since the Fox verdict, two more juries in City of St. Louis Circuit Court have returned verdicts for Plaintiffs whose ovarian cancer they linked to the regular genital use of Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products. In May, a jury found in favor of Gloria Ristesund, 62, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2011 after using J&J talcum powder products for more than 40 years. They awarded her $55 million in actual and punitive damages.
In October, a third jury in St. Louis found in favor of Plaintiff Deborah Giannecchini, who was diagnosed with Stage IV ovarian cancer at age 59, after using Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower body powder for feminine hygiene for more than 40 years. They awarded her $70.075 million and, for the first time, also held J&J talc supplier Imerys liable for damages. The award included $575,000 in medical damages, $2 million in compensatory damages and $65 million in punitive damages against J&J, and $2.5 million in punitive damages against Imerys.
Plaintiffs were represented by Jere L. Beasley, Ted G. Meadows, David P. Dearing and Danielle Ward Mason from Beasley Allen, along with Stephanie Rados, James G. Onder, Michael J. Quillin and W. Wylie Blair of the St. Louis firm Onder, Shelton, O’Leary & Peterson, LLC; R. Allen Smith, Jr., of The Smith Law Firm from Ridgeland, Miss.; and Timothy W. Porter, Patrick C. Malouf and John T. Givens from the firm of Porter & Malouf, PA, in Jackson, Miss.
UPDATE: A Missouri Court of Appeals overturned this verdict in October of 2017, but the firm and the Fox family will continue to fight for justice in whatever venue and whatever jurisdiction may be required.
In the U.S., ovarian cancer affects about 24,000 women a year and is the fifth-leading cause of cancer death for women. Medical experts estimate that more than 14,000 women die from talc-related ovarian cancer each year, and two scientific studies have found that nearly 10 percent of the new ovarian cancer cases and deaths reported annually are caused by the genital use of talcum powder.
Legal Documents (pdfs)