Can You Sue For Ovarian Cancer Caused By Talcum Powder?
- Zanes Law Web Team
- September 3, 2019
- Product Damage
You can recover damages for talcum powder-caused ovarian cancer by filing a product liability lawsuit against the product’s manufacturer.
Understanding Product Liability
Whenever an entity is responsible for a product—as Johnson & Johnson is responsible for its popular baby powder product, for example—that causes someone to sustain an injury, the entity can be held liable in a product liability lawsuit.
Each state has its own set of rules for essential elements of a product liability case, as well as statutes of limitations, etc. Still, the general spirit of product liability holds rather consistently across all states, usually requiring that the plaintiff establish that:
- They use or used a product sold by the defendant.
- They suffered an injury.
- The product was defective.
- The product’s defect caused their injury.
The first two elements are easily established. You used a talcum powder, and you know who manufactured and/or sold that product.
To prove that the talcum powder was defective, your lawyer will likely need to draw from the medical, scientific research that has been provided on this topic. Because you likely used talcum powder on a somewhat regular basis for years or even decades, it would be difficult, if not impossible to test a product that you used so long ago.
However, a 1971 study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of the British Commonwealth (BJOG) identified the existence of talc particles in ovarian cancer patients who used Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powders. The particles were rooted deep within the tumor’s tissue. Because asbestos had already been underscored as a dangerous mineral, the similarities between it and talc raised many red flags that the manufacturer should have dealt with at the time.
Failure to Warn
According to the Huffington Post, Diane Berg filed the first talcum powder lawsuit in 2009 after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the age of 49. For most of her life, Berg had used talcum powder as part of her personal hygiene routine, sprinkling the powder on her underwear to eliminate odors. When the manufacturer (Johnson & Johnson) offered her an out-of-court settlement of $1.3 million, the confidentiality aspect of the settlement made Berg balk.
Her mission was to do what the talcum powder manufacturer had failed to do: warn the public about the dangers of using the baby powder product. Despite Berg’s disappointing outcome (she received no monetary compensation from her lawsuit), a very good thing came from her actions—the connection between talcum powder and ovarian cancer had been made.
It is well established that talcum product manufacturers have been aware of the risks of using their products since the 1970s, and yet these companies failed to label their products with warnings to this effect. By manufacturing these harmful products and selling them to the public with no warning, these talcum powder companies put themselves on the hot seat for ovarian cancer litigation.
Helping Your Lawyer Help You
You can help your attorney build a robust case against talcum powder manufacturers by making sure that you have documentation of your ovarian cancer diagnosis and by attempting to journal when you began using talcum powder, in what capacity, and how often.
Your lawyer will use this documentation to bulk up the evidence required in a product liability case. They can also advise you on the best forum for filing your case. Depending upon when your ovarian cancer was diagnosed and where you live, your statute of limitations to sue for ovarian cancer caused by talcum powder may be expiring soon.
In this case, your lawyer may be able to find a better venue where the time limit has not yet expired.
Call Zanes Law Today for a Free Case Review
Zanes Law will do everything from A to Z to ensure the talcum powder company responsible for your condition pays your expenses and other losses. Call us today at (866) 499-8989 for a free case review.
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