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Talcum baby powder products may increase the risk of developing mesothelioma and ovarian cancer. Victims who used these products for decades are now filing lawsuits against the manufacturers. Many of them have won significant talcum baby powder settlements.
What Is a Talcum Baby Powder Settlement?
Lawsuits against producers of talcum powder products and talc suppliers are recent in the legal world. People began filing them after developing mesothelioma or ovarian cancer after years of regular use of baby powder.
Many of those lawsuits end in settlements. This is an agreement between the plaintiff and defendant. A settlement provides a certain amount of compensation to the plaintiff for medical and other costs related to cancer. The companies sued are often considered liable because they never warned consumers of the risks of using their products.
How Is Talcum Baby Powder Linked to Cancer?
It may seem unusual that such an innocuous product, one that is used on babies, could be harmful or cause cancer. Exactly how or why, or even to what extent, talcum powder has contributed to or caused cancer is not fully understood.
But research evidence concludes there is a strong possibility talcum powder can be implicated in cases of mesothelioma and ovarian cancer and provides an explanation for how:
- The main ingredient in baby powder is talc, a soft, natural mineral that is mined.
- Mined talc often contains contaminating minerals, including asbestos, known to cause mesothelioma.
- Federal regulations from the 1970s are supposed to ensure any asbestos is removed before talc goes into consumer products, but traces of asbestos have been found in talcum powder.
- Contaminating asbestos could be a factor in causing cancer.
There have been cases of plaintiffs going after talcum baby powder manufacturers because of ovarian cancer and others because of mesothelioma.
Evidence from studies backs them up, showing that there is a greater risk of developing cancer with regular, long-term talcum baby powder use.
How Do Victims Get Compensation Through a Baby Powder Settlement?
A settlement is an agreement. To seek a settlement, you must file a lawsuit against the companies negligent in your exposure and cancer diagnosis.
All it requires is that the two sides agree on the amount to be paid by the defendant to the plaintiff. There is no need for a trial or jury verdict.
To get the defendants to agree to a settlement, you need to show evidence of their negligence. You must show that you used the talc product and that it likely contained asbestos and caused your cancer.
How Do I Qualify for a Baby Powder Settlement?
A settlement is an agreement between the defendants and plaintiffs in a lawsuit. You need a lawyer to help you file a lawsuit to get compensation through a settlement.
Many defendants in these cases are willing to negotiate with the victim’s lawyers to agree on a settlement amount. If the two sides cannot agree, your lawsuit goes to trial. There you may win a jury award for compensation.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Talcum Powder Settlement?
If you have a case for seeking a settlement, talk to an experienced lawyer. They can give you an estimate of a timeline for securing compensation. They cannot make any guarantees, and it may take months to years to recover damages.
What Is the Average Settlement for a Talcum Powder Lawsuit?
The average settlement for a talcum powder lawsuit isn’t easy to calculate for many reasons. Settlement amounts often remain unpublished. There are class actions that involve large numbers of people. And finally, many cases have yet to be settled.
Settlement amounts tend to be lower than jury verdicts, which can soar to tens of millions of dollars. Many settlements are around $100,000.
Examples of Talcum Powder Settlements
Some of the cases that victims of mesothelioma or ovarian cancer have won have been for astounding amounts.
$117 Million New Jersey Settlement
One recent case finished in New Jersey. The plaintiff was Stephen Lanzo, and the jury found Johnson & Johnson liable for his mesothelioma. The jury awarded $80 million in punitive damages, $30 million to Lanzo, and $7 million to Lanzo’s wife.
Lanzo and his lawyers argued that using Johnson’s brand Baby Powder and Shower to Shower talcum powder caused him to develop the rare type of cancer, mesothelioma, which is almost always caused by asbestos exposure.
They argued that his use of the products for more than thirty years caused him to inhale the harmful asbestos fibers contained in the baby powder.
An important piece of evidence that Lanzo’s lawyers used against the company was internal documentation from the company. These documents from the 1960s indicated executives knew the talc could contain asbestos.
$26 Million Settlement in California
Another recent case also ended in favor of the plaintiff, a California woman named Joanne Anderson. She was diagnosed with mesothelioma after decades of using Johnson & Johnson baby powder products. The jury awarded $26 million, deciding in her favor.
Not all the blame went to Johnson & Johnson. The company is responsible for about two-thirds of the amount, but the rest goes to other companies, including those related to her husband’s work with cars and car parts. Several car parts have previously contained asbestos, and many still do.
$417 Million for Ovarian Cancer
Eva Echeverria of California used baby powder for feminine hygiene for over sixty years and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007. Echeverria and her lawyers argued that Johnson & Johnson did not warn consumers that talcum powder could contribute to or increase the risk of ovarian cancer.
The jury in the case ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a huge amount. The total $417 million includes $68 million for compensation to Echeverria and $340 million in punitive damages. Unfortunately, an appeals court overturned the decision in this case, and the company got a new trial.
What Is the Status of Johnson & Johnson Settlements?
Many of the lawsuits—both class actions and individual cases—have been directed at Johnson & Johnson. The company is huge and has the assets to settle with victims, but it continues to try to get out of paying as much as possible.
Early in 2021, Johnson & Johnson set aside nearly $4 billion to cover settlements for victims of cancer related to talcum powder. While this initially seemed like good news for victims, the company took another controversial step that may limit settlements.
Johnson & Johnson spun off a company to handle claims but then put that company into bankruptcy. While legal, critics say this move helps the company dodge lawsuits and high settlement amounts.
Advocates for victims have fought back against the bankruptcy plan, but so far Johnson & Johnson is moving forward. In early 2022, a judge ruled that the company could proceed with the spinoff and its bankruptcy while recognizing that it would put a hold on many individual lawsuits against the company.
Working with a Talcum Baby Powder Lawyer to Get a Settlement
Exactly how and when victims will get a settlement from Johnson & Johnson remains to be seen. A lawyer experienced in these types of cases is your best advisor and advocate in the meantime.
Contact a firm or lawyer that has worked on product liability or asbestos cases and has proven wins for their clients. Whether your target is Johnson & Johnson or another talcum powder company, they can help you find a way to seek a settlement.
While not all victims win their cases, enough have landed big settlements to show that there is merit to the idea that talcum powder can contribute to or cause cancer. If you believe your cancer, or that of a loved one, is related to baby powder, talk to an experienced products liability lawyer. This expert can help you make the right decisions, make a case, and take steps to try to win a fair settlement.Get Your FREE Mesothelioma Packet
Page Written by Rod De Llano, Esquire
Rod De Llano was born and raised in Laredo, Texas. He graduated from Princeton University with a B.A. in Economics, and earned a law degree from the University of Texas. After working for an international law firm for several years, Rod formed a law firm dedicated to representing persons injured by exposure to asbestos products. For over 20 years, Rod has fought for persons diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. His clients have recovered over $1 billion over the years.