Echeverria was not the first person to be awarded damages by Johnson & Johnson for talcum powder use, and she may not be the last. In fact, more than 1,000 women in the United States have sued the company claiming that their Baby Powder caused their cancer.
This spring, a woman from Virginia was awarded more than $110 million; cases in Missouri ended up in $55 million being awarded to one plaintiff, and $72 million for another who died of ovarian cancer.
Not all lawsuits that went to court ended successfully for the plaintiffs.
Two cases have been dismissed by a New Jersey judge. In March, a Tennessee woman’s claim was rejected by a jury, and while Deane Berg, of South Dakota, won her case, she was awarded no damages.
But Echeverria was undeterred by those outcomes.
"This case is especially tragic, as the plaintiff's cancer has reached a terminal stage, and she was too ill to be present for the verdict,” attorney says Sandy A. Liebhard said in a press release. “While no amount of money can make up for her suffering, we believe that this jury has sent a clear message to Johnson & Johnson that its conduct in regards to talc and ovarian cancer was unacceptable,"
Liebhard is a partner at Bernstein Liebhard LLP, a New York-based law firm that represents people across the nation who claim to have been victims of medical devices, drugs and consumer products.
The World Health Organization (WHO) deems talc a “possible carcinogen.” A warning label on the product might ease some women’s concerns, but the company is under no obligation to do so. Because the powder is considered a cosmetic product, the FDA has much looser guidelines on what must be included on the labels, compared to the regulations for drugs and medications.
More trials are likely to come in the near future, and Johnson & Johnson is preparing to defend its Baby Powder in all of them.