J&J Loses $417 Million Talc Verdict in First California Case

J&J Loses $417 Million Talc Verdict in First California Case

J&J Loses $417 Million Talc Verdict in First California Case

On Monday, a jury awarded a California woman $417 million because she developed ovarian cancer and had used Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder for decades.

At the trial, Echeverria's lawyers said Johnson & Johnson had encouraged women to use its talc products despite knowing of years of studies that have linked ovarian cancer diagnoses and deaths to genital talc use.

The Los Angeles Superior Court jury's verdict in favor of California resident Eva Echeverria was the largest yet in lawsuits alleging J&J failed to adequately warn consumers about the cancer risks of its talc-based products.

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J&J stock traded slightly up 0.6% to $133.40 mid-afternoon Monday.

Echeverria's attorney, Mark Robinson, said that his client hoped the verdict would lead Johnson & Johnson to include additional warnings on its products.

The company will appeal, said spokeswoman Carol Goodrich. J&J is appealing the verdicts and in June succeeded in halting a trial in St. Louis after the U.S. Supreme Court made it more hard for out-of-state plaintiffs to join lawsuits in state courts that are deemed favorable to their claims.

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Eva Echeverria, a 63-year-old from Los Angeles, said she had been using the powder as a regular part of her feminine hygiene routine since she was 11 years old. "We are guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnson's Baby Powder, " she said.

FILE - In this April 15, 2011, file photo, a bottle of Johnson's baby powder is displayed.

J&J lost four of those trials and, along with a talc supplier, has been hit with $307 million in verdicts. "There's a problem all over the country with women using talcum powder on daily basis for 10, 20, 30, 40 years". Because talcum powder is legally considered a cosmetic, it does not have to undergo a review by the US Food and Drug Administration like a drug would.

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Talcum powder is made from talc, a mineral mainly containing magnesium, silicon and oxygen. The company said talc, one of the ingredients in powder, is safe to use in cosmetic products and that J&J's baby powder is labeled appropriately. The largest, for $500 million, was awarded to ZeniMax Media Inc. over its claim that the virtual reality headset maker acquired by Facebook Inc. used stolen code.

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