Are You Due Compensation for an Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis?
Over the past 40 years, clinical studies have linked cases of ovarian cancer with women’s use of talcum powder products. Further, research and litigation have revealed documents which demonstrate that talcum powder manufacturers, chiefly Johnson & Johnson, knew about the risk talcum powder posed to consumers, but made no effort to warn the public.
Because manufacturers like Johnson & Johnson had knowledge of the risks posed by using talcum powder, and the connection between use and the increased risk of contracting ovarian cancer, J&J and other manufacturers had a duty to warn their consumers. Violation of this duty leaves these manufacturers liable to women or the families of women who have suffered from ovarian cancer linked to talcum powder use.
If you believe your or your loved one’s ovarian cancer is linked to use of talcum powder, you may be able to join or initiate a lawsuit that seeks compensation for your losses. You may be able to recover compensation for such expenses as medical bills and lost wages, as well as for loss of quality of life and pain and suffering. In the event of a death, you may seek funeral and burial expenses, too.
Stern Law can help you explore the legal options available to you if you have been injured by use of talcum powder or have lost a wife, partner, mother or daughter to ovarian cancer that may have been caused by her use of talcum powder products.
‘Duty to Warn’ at Heart of Talcum Powder Lawsuits
While state laws differ somewhat, in general, manufacturers of consumer products have certain legal obligations that pertain to the products they make and sell to the public. They have a legal obligation, or duty, to:
- Manufacture a product that is reasonably safe when used as intended
- Warn of any potential risks to health or safety caused by use of the product as intended.
Because it is considered a cosmetic, talcum powder and talcum powder products fall under the jurisdiction of the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA regulates how cosmetics may be sold and packaged in our country.
The FDA statute for establishment of warning labels states:
“The label of a cosmetic product shall bear a warning statement whenever necessary or appropriate to prevent a health hazard that may be associated with the product.”
In addition to requiring certain labels, such as warning statements, the FDA can punish a manufacturer that sells “misbranded” cosmetics. A cosmetic not bearing a necessary warning statement may be considered misbranded because it fails to reveal a fact “material … with respect to consequences which may result from the use of the article (product).”
Meanwhile, over the past 40 years, numerous research studies have cited a heightened incidence of ovarian cancer among women who had regularly used talcum powder products over several years. More specifically, researchers have said that when women use talcum powder in their panties, on condoms or on sanitary napkins, it can migrate into their vaginas and to their ovaries. Talc, the elemental ingredient in talcum powder, has been found in cancerous ovarian tumors.
Therefore, given manufacturers’ duty to warn and evidence that talcum powder can be harmful when used as intended, attorneys are contending the following allegations in lawsuits against talcum powder manufacturers:
- Talcum powder is unreasonably dangerous when used by women on a regular basis for personal hygiene.
- The manufacturers knew talcum powder could cause ovarian cancer, but failed to warn the public.
Further, lawsuits already filed in cases of ovarian cancer allegedly linked to talcum powder also allege that manufacturers concealed additional evidence they had compiled of the dangers of talcum powder, and therefore misrepresented its safety, and that manufacturers could have substituted cornstarch for talc, which would have prevented the risk of ovarian cancer.
Compensation for the Harm Caused by Talcum Powder
Additional factors required of product liability and personal injury lawsuits are that the alleged breach of duty caused harm, and that harm is compensable. That is, the injury caused by failure to warn can be made better by paying money to those harmed.
As lawsuits and medical research have noted, most cases of ovarian cancer are diagnosed at Stage III or IV, after the cancer has spread far beyond the ovaries. Most women diagnosed with ovarian cancer experience a five-year survival rate of less than 20 percent, which means fewer than 1 in 5 are alive five years after diagnosis. In addition, approximately 10 percent of annual ovarian cancer diagnoses and deaths are related to the use of talcum-based products.
Women who survive ovarian cancer, or families of those who do not survive, face medical bills, lost income and/or funeral and burial expenses due to their illness, for which they may seek compensation. State laws define variously described mental suffering, such as pain and suffering, loss of companionship or loss of quality of life, as compensable in product liability and/or personal injury lawsuits.
In certain cases, juries may award “punitive damages,” additional payments meant to punish the defendant, if jury members believe the defendant acted with an egregious disregard for the public’s safety.
Do You Have a Talcum Powder Claim?
Few women have never used talcum powder. But not all ovarian cancer is a product of talcum powder use.
For a lawsuit against a talcum powder manufacturer to succeed, a woman who has or has had ovarian cancer (or her family) would have to demonstrate that talcum powder was the “proximate,” or most closely related, cause of the cancer.
Therefore, to move forward with a claim on your behalf, Stern Law would require you to have:
- A diagnosis of ovarian cancer
- A history of at least five years of talcum powder use on a regular basis in your genital area
- Regular use of a Johnson & Johnson talcum powder product
- A positive biopsy of ovarian tissue or tumor showing traces of talcum powder
In addition, you must not exhibit a genetic disorder pre-disposing you to ovarian cancer, such as the BRCA 1 gene or BRCA 2 gene.
If you meet these criteria, Stern Law may be able to help you to either initiate a claim on your own or join an active class action lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson. Class action claims are declared by courts to consolidate lawsuits that make similar allegations. This allows multiple cases to move forward at once, which saves legal expenses.
There are advantages and disadvantages to joining a class action or initiating an independent claim, which vary from case to case, and which your attorney would discuss with you.
Already, lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson talcum powder products have resulted in:
- $127 million awarded to two families
- $72 million for the family of an African American woman who died from ovarian cancer after using talcum powder daily for more than 30 years
- $55 million in damages for an ovarian cancer sufferer.
Ask Stern Law About a Talcum Powder Lawsuit
Ken Stern and Stern Law, PLLC, want to hear from you if you are dealing with ovarian cancer linked to long-term talcum powder use. We are currently helping women and the families of deceased women pursue lawsuits. Contact us now for a free, no-obligation meeting to discuss your legal rights.
We can investigate your ovarian cancer case, compare it to others, and advise you of the best course of action for your family. Stern Law works with a nationwide network of attorneys experienced in product liability cases, but our legal representation is personalized and tailored to each client’s needs and concerns.
Contact Stern Law to preserve your legal rights. We seek justice for the unjustly injured. You may be able to obtain compensation for the losses you have endured.