How J&J Offered $1.3M to Silence a Talcum Powder Victim
Talcum powder used to seem soft and sweet and clean and was associated with good things, like newborn babies. But today the powder, which has made its way into countless cosmetic and other products, is associated with ovarian cancer.
Now, women all over the country are suing Johnson and Johnson, the premiere talcum powder purveyor, for fraud, negligence, and failure to warn of the risk of ovarian cancer created by use of the stuff. For decades, many have sprinkled it in their underwear, unaware that the product was dangerous. The company, however, did know for some time it seems, and tried to hide this fact.Baby Powder Problems
Diane Berg, a woman from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at age 49. She was a longtime user of talcum powder, sprinkling it in her underwear to keep fresh. In 2006, she discovered that the product was actually killing her. She sued Johnson and Johnson. The company offered her a $1.3 million settlement in 2013.
But there was a condition. Berg, a physician's assistant, would not be allowed to speak out about the dangers of talcum powder. She refused the settlement, telling reporters her case has never been about money.
She wanted to warn other women about the dangers of this product. With respect to this mission, the physician's assistant was successful. The jury affirmed the connection between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. But Berg did not recover damages, reportedly.
She did, however, establish a connection that has been affirmed since. Johnson and Johnson knew about the powder's dangers but hid it from women. A juror in a case that found Johnson and Johnson liable to the tune of $62 million in punitive damages and $10 million in compensatory, stated that internal documents revealed that the company was hiding information. It continued marketing the product despite knowing it was dangerous.
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