Household bath product might have carcinogenic side effect

A recent jury award against Johnson & Johnson illustrates that sizable recovery that may be available from a product liability lawsuit.

In the case, a woman who had battled and overcome ovarian cancer claimed that Johnson & Johnson's talc-powder product, marketed as baby powder, had caused her cancer. A company spokeswoman denied the allegation, claiming that 30 years of research proved the product's safety. However, the jury sided with the plaintiff and awarded her a total award of $55 million. Notably, only $5 million of that amount was compensatory; the other $50 million was in punitive damages.

The case is not an isolated incident. There are an estimated 1,200 lawsuits pending against the company involving similar allegations about the product's carcinogenic risk. Still another case was brought by the estate of a woman who succumbed to ovarian cancer after years of using the product. That case resulted in a $72 million jury award.

Bringing a product liability suit against a company whose product was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration may seem like an uphill battle. Yet even the FDA's website contains a section for consumer reports of adverse reactions from dangerous drugs. The truth is that long-term side effects from drugs are not always evident from the pre-release research trials conducted by a company, even assuming that all data was properly disclosed to the FDA. This is why an attorney that focuses on product liability law should be consulted about a potentially dangerous or defective product. An attorney can provide advice on how to protect your rights and help you plan a course of action.

Source: Reuters, "Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay $55 million in talc-powder trial," Jessica Dye, May 3, 2016

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