With over 4,000 talc lawsuits filed across the country and many more currently in the filing process, talc litigation is far from slowing down. You may have recently seen a number of talcum powder TV commercials from product liability lawyers looking to help women who may have been harmed by talcum powder. Indeed, if you were diagnosed with ovarian cancer after using talc for feminine hygiene, it’s best to start looking at your legal options as soon as you can. Filing lawsuits against powerful manufacturers like Johnson & Johnson is extremely challenging and the help of an experienced attorney will be invaluable to your case.
Why Are Cancer Patients Filing Talc Powder Lawsuits?
Many women use talcum powder as part of their everyday routine, never suspecting that such a popular, seemingly innocuous product could possibly pose serious health risks. To make matters worse, product labeling for talc products often encourage daily use (for example, Johnson & Johnson’s “Shower To Shower” brand powders are labeled with the slogan “a sprinkle a day keeps odor away”) as well as full-body use of the powders–implying that dusting the genital area is also safe.
Four Decades Of Medical Research
Yet, the regular application of talcum powder to the female genitals, including use on sanitary napkins and underwear, is precisely the practice implicated in over 40 years of research as a possible risk factor for ovarian cancer, the Huffington Post reports. Though it’s true that findings differ somewhat among various studies, the fact remains that over 20 studies have found significant evidence for a link between elevated ovarian cancer risk and regular genital talc application.
And yet, most consumers have no clue about this possible association. Talc users diagnosed with aggressive ovarian cancers describe being shocked to learn that such a commonplace daily routine could have had a bearing on the development of their disease. In the words of Deane Berg, who filed the first talcum powder cancer lawsuit, “Why aren’t they warning women about this?”
Juries Find Evidence Of Wrongdoing
Recent lawsuits say that Johnson & Johnson and other major members of the talc industry are guilty of far more than simple negligence. During the first few talcum case trials, the plaintiffs presented evidence to support their claims that talc companies have been working together to actively hide and / or refute any research establishing a link between ovarian cancer and talc.
Interviews with jury members reveal that this evidence, which includes J&J internal memos and other correspondence, was a major factor in convincing them that J&J was “really trying to cover something up.” In 3 of the trials, juries decided that J&J was obligated to pay compensatory as well as punitive damages to the plaintiffs for what jurors called “outrageous” behavior.
Does Talc Cause Ovarian Cancer?
Over 40 years of medical research suggest that the application of talc powder to the female genitals is a major risk factor for ovarian cancer. Results from over 20 well-established studies have consistently supported this conclusion, with the elevated ovarian cancer risk estimates ranging from about 30% to 300%. The association between ovarian cancer and talc use remains an active area of research.
Predictably, Johnson & Johnson and other proponents of the talc industry are quick to dismiss the possible link as “inconclusive,” saying that current research doesn’t merit product warnings. They claim that the largest, most recent, and best-designed studies don’t find talc to raise ovarian cancer risks.
More Research Is Desperately Needed
While it’s true that many studies have found various types of genital talc use to be associated with a higher risk for ovarian cancer, several studies have found insignificant or no heightened risks, and 2 relatively large and recent studies did not suggest that talc is an ovarian cancer risk factor. But this does not mean that the talc – ovarian cancer link is nonexistent.
When researchers find inconsistencies between various studies, it often simply means that more research is needed, as results may differ due to study design flaws such as bias, insufficient or inappropriate study populations and limited followup periods. Examining differences in study designs and interpretation of results in talc research will help scientists refine their research aims and methods, and may lead to more consistent outcomes and conclusions.
How Do I Find A Lawyer For My Talc Case?
There may be dozens of product liability lawyers practicing in your area, but it’s crucial to find a good fit for you and your case. Since you’ll be working closely with your lawyer in developing your talc lawsuit, choosing someone with extensive relevant experience, as well as a personality and working style that meshes with your own and puts you at ease, will likely strengthen your lawsuit and help make the litigation process more efficient and considerably less stressful for you.
Before making a choice, carefully consider your options. After compiling a list of potential candidates practicing in your area, based on important criteria such as years of working experience and history of verdicts / settlements, be sure to schedule interviews to determine the best fit for you. Many product liability lawyers offer free case evaluations, so this interview process shouldn’t cost you anything.
Will Johnson & Johnson Offer Settlements?
In an interview with the New York Post, the first talcum powder plaintiff, Deane Berg, revealed that J&J had actually offered her a settlement while her case was still in the pre-trial stage. However, because the manufacturer required that she completely rescind her lawsuit in order to receive the settlement, she chose to refuse the money. For her, it was more important to bring her case to trial so that her plight would be brought before the public eye, potentially saving other women from the pain that she had endured. No word has yet broken about any other talc settlements.
So far, J&J has announced that it plans to appeal the existing court verdicts and continue to participate in trial for upcoming cases. Many legal experts believe that, if future court verdicts continue to be judged in favor of plaintiffs, J&J may eventually decide to offer considerable settlements to victims rather than fighting them in court.
How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Talc Lawyer?
It shouldn’t cost you anything up front to hire a lawyer to work on your case. Many product liability lawyers use a contingency fee arrangement, which means that clients aren’t billed at all unless their cases are resolved with a monetary court award or settlement.
That way, legal fees don’t come out of your pocket, but rather as a portion of any awarded relief that your attorney helps you obtain.
When Should I File A Lawsuit?
If you think you may have a case against Johnson & Johnson or another talcum powder manufacturer, it’s best to find an attorney and start the filing process as soon as possible to avoid missing the filing deadline. Filing dates for lawsuits are constrained by a state-specific “statute of limitations,” defined by the time elapsed since the incident that caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
To find your state’s statute of limitations for lawsuits involving potentially dangerous products, check out this guide at FindLaw.com.
Discovery Rule May Help Plaintiffs
Note, however, that many talc powder plaintiffs have successfully invoked a “discovery rule” to extend their state’s statute of limitations. The discovery rule is an exception made in cases where the plaintiff could not have possibly known the precise source of his or her injuries within the limitation period.
In talcum powder cases, victims can argue that because no warnings were issued about elevated ovarian cancer risk from talc, and because ovarian cancer has such a long latency period, they had no way of identifying talc use as a potential risk factor until fairly recently.
But even if you expect to be able to use the discovery rule, it’s still wise to file sooner rather than later, to stand a better chance of receiving sufficient compensation, especially if Johnson & Johnson ends up establishing settlement funds. This is because in setting up such a fund, the company puts down a finite amount of money to be used for settling any current and future lawsuits. If the fund runs out, it’s typically not replenished for any new cases.
Contact An Experienced Talcum Powder Attorney
Want to learn more about pursuing a talcum powder lawsuit? Contact The Product Lawyers today for a free consultation. Our experienced product liability lawyers can help you understand your legal options – at no cost and no obligation. Just call us now or fill out our contact form to discuss your situation with an attorney.
More Talc Information Guides