A jury this week awarded $417 million to a Los Angeles woman who blamed her ovarian cancer on Johnson’s Baby Powder.
The New York Times reported that the award could be the largest to date among the hundreds of lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson, the product's manufacturer.
The vast majority of those lawsuits are still pending, but juries in Missouri previously awarded tens of millions of dollars to three plaintiffs. Another woman did not receive damages after winning her lawsuit, while another Missouri jury decided in favor of the company and a New Jersey judge tossed out two complaints.
The plaintiffs argue that Johnson & Johnson continued to market baby powder that contained talcum powder despite numerous studies that showed an increased cancer risk from long-term use of talc.
The Times, however, noted that other studies into links between talcum powder and ovarian cancer were inconclusive. Johnson & Johnson officials vowed to appeal the latest decision.
“We will appeal today’s verdict because we are guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder," company spokeswoman Carol Goodrich told the paper.
But Mark Robinson, the attorney for Eva Echeverria — the plaintiff in the Los Angeles case — said after the decision that the 63-year-old medical receptionist hoped to alert other women to the potential dangers of the product.
“She told me, ‘I’m not doing this for myself,’” Robinson said. “She knows she’s going to die. She’s doing this for other women. She wants to do something good before she leaves.”