Attorneys for cancer victims: J&J must abandon efforts to shirk responsibility after decades of hiding the truth
MONTGOMERY, AL – Another jury has found that Johnson & Johnson’s (NYSE:JNJ) talcum powder products cause cancer, prompting attorneys representing thousands of cancer victims to demand that the company take responsibility for damages brought by its defective consumer products and its failure to warn generations of women about talc-cancer links.
The $26.5 million verdict by a California jury on August 26 continues to send a message – amplified in numerous earlier trials – that decades of hiding the truth about the carcinogenic properties of talcum powder must end, says an attorney who’s leading the fight against J&J.
“The evidence from J&J’s own records clearly shows a 50-year-old pattern of corporate cover-ups and manipulation of research on the dangers of talc use,” said Andy Birchfield, head of the Mass Torts Section at the Beasley Allen Law Firm. “This verdict is just the latest step in exposing the shameful lengths this company went through to keep selling its iconic product while putting lives in danger.”
Jurors in Alameda County awarded $26.5 million in compensatory damages against J&J for causing the mesothelioma cancer of 35-year-old Christina Prudencio, a former teacher. According to trial testimony of her mother and sister, Ms. Prudencio was directly and indirectly exposed to Johnson’s Baby Powder for more than two decades.
Several jury trials and news reports in recent years have documented that J&J’s talc-based products – including Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower – were sometimes tainted with carcinogenic asbestos and that J&J historically kept that information from regulators and the public. Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released a report that found roughly 20 percent of talc-based powders and makeup samples tested by the agency contained asbestos.
In May 2020, Johnson & Johnson announced the company would no longer make or market talc-based powders for the North American market. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear evidence from a $2.1 billion judgment against the company entered by the Missouri Court of Appeals and upheld by the Missouri Supreme Court. That appellate court found that J&J had engaged in “reprehensible conduct” for decades by repeatedly denying the known association between talc use and ovarian cancer.
In response to ongoing litigation and mounting jury verdicts, the company has threatened to bundle those liabilities into a separate entity, which would then seek bankruptcy protection. Such a scheme would eliminate the rights of thousands of ovarian cancer victims to have their claims resolved before a judge and jury.
“Rather than attempt a cynical, greedy ploy to seek insolvency for a $500 billion company, J&J should simply come clean and seek a resolution that acknowledges the company’s negligence and establishes a means for fairly compensating victims both now and in the future,” said Birchfield.