Slemp vs Johnson & Johnson

On May 4, 2017, Johnson & Johnson suffered its fourth loss in talcum powder ovarian cancer litigation. A jury in the City of St. Louis found J&J, along with its talc supplier, Imerys Talc America, liable for plaintiff Lois Slemp’s ovarian cancer, and awarded a verdict of more than $110 million.

Ms. Slemp, 62, alleged that more than four decades of using talc-containing feminine hygiene products, including Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower, led to the development of her cancer. Initially diagnosed in 2012, Ms. Slemp endured surgery and seven months of chemotherapy to combat the disease. Earlier this year it was discovered the cancer had returned and spread to her liver. She is currently undergoing additional chemotherapy treatment, and due to her physical condition she was only able to testify through an audio recording of her deposition.

The latest verdict includes $5.4 million in compensatory damages, and $105 million in punitive damages. Johnson & Johnson and Imerys’ losses in the talc litigation to date total more than $307 million.

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. 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.

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.

Co-lead counsels for Ms. Slemp were Ted G. Meadows from Beasley Allen Law Firm and R. Allen Smith, Jr., of The Smith Law Firm.

Legal Documents (pdfs)