Ristesund vs Johnson & Johnson
In May 2016, a jury in City of St. Louis Circuit Court found Johnson & Johnson liable for injuries resulting from the use of its talc-containing products awarded Plaintiff Gloria Ristesund $55 million after agreeing the products contributed to the development of her ovarian cancer. The verdict includes $5 million in actual damages and $50 million in punitive damages.
Ms. Ristesund, 62, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2011, after using Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower for feminine hygiene for more than 40 years.
This was the second Plaintiffs’ verdict in the talcum powder litigation against Johnson & Johnson. In February, another City of St. Louis Circuit Court jury awarded the family of Plaintiff Jacqueline Fox $72 million after agreeing the products contributed to the development of her ovarian cancer. That verdict included $10 million in actual damages and $62 million in punitive damages.
After the Ristesund verdict, a third jury in St. Louis Circuit Court handed down another verdict against Johnson & Johnson, this time in favor of Plaintiff Deborah Giannecchini. They awarded her $70.075 million after determining J&J’s talc products caused Ms. Giannecchini’s ovarian cancer. She was diagnosed at age 59 with Stage IV ovarian cancer after using the talc products for more than 40 years. The jury in the Giannecchini case also held J&J talc supplier Imerys liable for $2.5 million in punitive damages.
Plaintiffs were represented by Ted G. Meadows, David P. Dearing, Danielle Ward Mason, Brittany Scott and Ryan Beattie from Beasley Allen, along with R. Allen Smith, Jr., of The Smith Law Firm from Ridgeland, Miss., and Stephanie Rados, James G. Onder and W. Wylie Blair of the St. Louis firm Onder, Shelton, O’Leary & Peterson, LLC.
An estimated 20,000 women are diagnosed each year with ovarian cancer, and more than 14,000 die. The disease strikes about one in 70 women, though studies show that women who use talc-containing products on their genitals have a one in 50 chance of developing the disease. An expert at trial testified at least 45,000 women have died as a result of ovarian cancer that could be attributed to talcum powder use on the genitals, and estimated 1,500 women will die within the next year as a result of talc use.
Legal Documents (pdfs)