Earlier this week, Johnson & Johnson was hit hard in another talcum liability case. As readers may know, the company is currently facing thousands of lawsuits involving allegations that the company failed to warn consumers of the known connection between use of its talc-containing products and the development of ovarian cancer.
Johnson & Johnson has already lost four talcum cases, with jury awards ranging from $72 million to $110 million. This week’s case resulted in a verdict for $417 million, the largest yet. The woman who filed the lawsuit claimed that she had used talc-containing J&J products for most of her life. She is now dying of ovarian cancer.
One of the issues in these talc cases is the strength of the evidence connecting talc-containing products to ovarian cancer. Although some studies have observed a correlation, others have found little or no connection. In other words, the science is very inconclusive. Because of this, plaintiffs have room to argue a causal connection. Jurors are in the tough position of having to look at circumstantial evidence and determine whether the company fulfilled its duty to warn customers of the potential risks of using their talc-containing products. Plaintiffs rely on sympathetic juries for their victories.
As these talc liability cases show, product liability litigation can be a major source of exposure for businesses. Working with an experienced attorney is, therefore, critical to ensuring a business has the best chance at achieving a favorable outcome in these cases.
In our next post, we’ll continue looking at this topic and the importance of working with skilled legal counsel in product liability defense.