Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay $55 million in another talc powder lawsuit, and with more than 1,200 lawsuits to go, experts say it's time for the company to think about setting up a settlement program. In the latest case, a St. Louis jury found in favor of Gloria Ristesund, a woman who developed ovarian cancer after four decades of using J&J's baby powder for feminine hygiene, reports Reuters. The verdict in favor of the 62-year-old, whose cancer is now in remission, followed a three-week trial. Earlier this year, the same court awarded $72 million to the family of an Alabama woman who died of ovarian cancer after 35 years of using the company's baby powder and Shower to Shower products for feminine hygiene.
Ristesund's lawyers successfully argued that the company had been aware of health risks since the 1970s but failed to warn women about the link to ovarian cancer. Johnson & Johnson maintained that no link has been proven and nobody knows what causes ovarian cancer. Attorney Jere Beasley, whose firm was involved in both cases, tells Bloomberg that the latest case was a "defense pick," unlike the Alabama case, which plaintiffs decided should be the first case to go to trial. "If they can't win that one, they can't win one," Beasley says. "They're going to have to come to the table and start settling cases." The company plans to appeal. (A J&J subsidiary had to pay $25 million after admitting it knowingly sold kids' Tylenol with metal bits in it.)