A California woman diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer testified before a Los Angeles jury in August that she was never warned that her daily use of Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder products could cause cancer.
Plaintiff Eva Echeverria sued Johnson & Johnson in July 2016 along with six other women, alleging in the baby powder lawsuit that Johnson & Johnson knew about the potential risks for ovarian cancer with long-term, regular use of talcum powder, but failed to place a warning label on its Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower talcum products.
Echeverria was the first plaintiff to go to trial in the joint baby powder lawsuit, which has been consolidated with other cases into complex litigation. The lawsuit also names Imerys Talc America Inc., the company that mined the talcum powder and sold it to J&J, as a defendant.
Plaintiff Details Decades of Talc Powder Use With No Warning of Risks
Echeverria testified that every day and multiple times a day for 50 years, she used Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products on her genitals. She was diagnosed with cancer in 2007 and says she only stopped using the products when she saw a television commercial in 2016 about the potential connection between baby powder products and ovarian cancer.
“I stopped using it because I saw something on TV about a woman who died as a result of ovarian cancer and she had been using Johnson & Johnson baby powder,” she said. “I thought, I use Johnson & Johnson baby powder and I’ve been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and I’m still using it.”
Echeverria’s depositions from spring 2017 were played for the jury, which showed she received the news in January that she had six months or less to live due to her cancer diagnosis. The plaintiff shared in those deposition tapes that she never saw a warning label on the Johnson’s baby powder products she used that talcum powder could cause cancer. After discovering the potential connection, she filed a baby powder lawsuit.
In those depositions, the plaintiff also shared some of the side effects she has struggled to cope with after her cancer diagnosis, such as nausea, headaches, kidney and liver pain, and extreme fatigue.
J&J Refutes Claims
Later in the week following the videotape testimony by Echeverria, Johnson & Johnson’s first witness refuted the claims that the company knew about the dangers of talcum powder.
Alan Anderson, a former FDA researcher/department director and employee with the Cosmetic Ingredient Review, shared that an expert panel identified that the talc was safe and that there were no studies with a clear enough conclusion that genital talc use was tied to ovarian cancer.
In the opening statements, a lawyer for J&J argued that the products made and marketed by Johnson & Johnson have been used by millions of people for decades and that there were no studies conclusively linking talc use and ovarian cancer.
J&J Fighting Other Baby Powder Lawsuits
Echeverria’s baby powder lawsuit is not the first against Johnson & Johnson.
A series of five baby powder cancer lawsuits in St. Louis led to several verdicts worth more than $300 million. However, one of those trials also ended with clearing J&J of liability. One trial in New Jersey ended in a dismissal after the judge found that the plaintiffs did not provide necessary scientific proof linking ovarian cancer with genital mineral to proceed with a legal claim.
The California baby powder lawsuit is Eva Echeverria, et al. v Johnson & Johnson, et al., Case No. BC628228, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles.
The coordinated baby powder litigation is Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Cases, Case No. JCCP4872, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles.
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer after years of genital talc powder use, you may have grounds for a legal claim. Consulting with a lawyer is strongly recommended. The attorneys at Bradley/Grombacher represent victims in claims against manufacturers regarding dangerous products.