Beasley Allen, an Alabama law firm handling baby powder lawsuits, produced the first Johnson's baby powder settlement yet this week. A jury sided with Beasley Allen client Jacqueline Fox, deeming Johnson & Johnson guilty of fraud, negligence, and conspiracy for its failure to warn women of the link between baby powder and ovarian cancer and ordering the health care giant to pay a stunning $72 million in combined penalties.
A jury in a 2013 baby powder lawsuit did confirm a connection between talcum powder and ovarian cancer prior to the Beasley Allen case. The plaintiff in that Johnson's baby powder lawsuit, Deane Berg, did not receive a baby powder settlement. Beasley Allen is the first to win a baby powder cancer award on behalf of a woman suffering from ovarian cancer.
The baby powder cancer settlement is significant for the family of the plaintiff, Jackie Fox. Ms. Fox was diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using reportedly using Johnson's Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower, both talc-containing products by Johnson & Johnson, over the course of four decades. Ms. Fox struggled against the ovarian cancer for 2 ½ years before passing away late in 2015.
The baby powder award is also significant on a national level, according to Alabama attorney Jere Beasley, principal of Beasley Allen. "This case is a tremendous signal to Johnson & Johnson and all the cosmetic companies," he said. Beasley predicts cosmetic companies will add ovarian cancer warnings to talc baby powder products as a result of this baby powder cancer verdict.
Though research connecting talcum powder use to ovarian cancer has been in existence for decades, the topic of whether baby powder causes ovarian cancer has been fraught with controversy. The jury in this baby powder cancer case confirmed that Johnson's baby powder did contribute to the plaintiff's cancer, and found the cosmetic company guilty of conspiracy for concealing baby powder cancer research outcomes from consumers and regulators. According to Jere Beasley, the lack of regulation for cosmetics provided a loophole for the company, which chose to conceal the risk and keep marketing talc products to women. "They are basically self-regulated and they know they can really just about get away with anything," Jere Beasley of Beasley Allen explained. "The corporate conduct we have seen over the past five years getting ready for this trial is just about as bad as I have seen in any area that I have practiced in."
More than 1,000 baby powder lawsuits are pending in courts around the nation. According to Jere Beasley, his Alabama law firm received more than 6,000 inquiries regarding potential Johnson's baby powder lawsuits. The case resulting in this landmark baby powder cancer verdict was the first to go to court of roughly fifty plaintiffs who filed together. More baby powder settlements are expected, to resolve other pending Beasley Allen baby powder cancer claims and those filed by other talcum powder attorneys in state and federal courts.