Talcum powder, you use it on babies, in barber shops, pretty much in everyday life someone at one time or another has used talcum powder. Imagine knowing that something you used on a daily basis has the potential to cause cancer, not only that but the company who makes it knew about it. That is exactly what happened to Jacqueline Fox. Jacqueline sadly died of ovarian cancer in October of 2015. It is believed that a known tie between Johnson & Johnson brand talcum powder and ovarian cancer was the cause of her death.
Fox was just one plaintiff among a group of about 60 that were diagnosed with ovarian cancer and attributed it to years of using Johnson & Johnson talc products. Fox’s case has been the first to go to trial, and since then Johnson & Johnson has been inundated with hundreds of lawsuits. Fox had been using talc-based products from Johnson & Johnson for well over 30 years.
During the trial, it was brought to light that Johnson & Johnson had implicit knowledge of the connection between talcum and ovarian cancer. In fact, Jere Beasley, the counsel for Fox, stated in court that they were able to prove with statistics that over 1,500 women had died annually as a result of Talc induced ovarian cancer. Beasley stated that internal documents subpoenaed from Johnson & Johnson showed a knowledge of the correlation as far back as 1981.
If the mere fact of Johnson & Johnson having full knowledge of this dangerous side effect of their product was not enough, internal documents revealed that they discussed how to strategize a defense from lawsuits such as Mrs. Fox’s. Johnson & Johnson went even further and attempted to manipulate the public by hiring a female oncologist to deem their product safe for women.
Because Johnson & Johnson seemed to show deliberate intent to cover up the issue and defraud the public on the dangers of talcum and ovarian cancer, a St. Louis Jury awarded the estate of Mrs. Fox $72 million for willful negligence and fraud among other charges. Beasley said that in all his years of practice this is the worst corporate conduct and dishonesty he has ever seen.
Principal Ted Meadows with Beasley Allen issued this statement after the verdict had been handed down to their client.
“Jacqueline Fox was an incredible lady whose life was cut far too short by the callous decisions by the bosses at Johnson and Johnson.”
“Inside J&J (Johnson & Johnson) folks have known for decades, literally decades, that the talc contained in its products could cause cancer. Instead of warning customers, J&J executives made the deliberate decision to hide the risk and keep on selling. The internal documents tell a horrifying and infuriating story of corporate greed and indifference to human life. We are honored to represent the family of Ms. Fox and to bring to light the misdeeds of this company.”
Beasley has gone on record to say that he predicts beauty products will now have warning labels on them if they contain talc.
Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson maintains their innocence and have only issued this statement post-trial.
“We have no higher responsibility than the health and safety of consumers, and we are disappointed with the outcome of the trial. We sympathize with the plaintiff’s family but firmly believe the safety of cosmetic talc is supported by decades of scientific evidence.”
Overall, it was not just a win for Jacqueline Fox but for other victims of corporations not taking responsibility for the safety of their products and misleading the public regarding the health risks of their products.