The jury ruled 9-3 late Friday, denying 56-year-old Vickie Forrest’s allegation that more than 30 years of use of the talcum-based powder caused her illness. Forrest, of St. Louis, was diagnosed with stage 2 ovarian cancer in 2012 and is in remission after surgery and chemotherapy, her attorneys said.
“It’s disappointing that J&J is going to see this as approval of their continued sale of talc-based baby powder that harms women,” Ted Meadows, one of Forrest’s lawyers, said in a statement.
The lawsuit is among several filed on behalf of thousands of women who claim Johnson & Johnson's talcum powder contributed to their ovarian cancer. Other lawsuits have claimed that talc products caused mesothelioma. Juries have awarded billions of dollars in damages but some verdicts have been overturned because of jurisdictional issues.
Johnson & Johnson has consistently argued that its baby powder is safe and does not cause cancer, and has appealed cases where it has lost.
Johnson & Johnson did not immediately respond to phone and email messages Monday.
St. Louis courts have often been friendly to plaintiffs. In July 2018, jurors in St. Louis awarded $4.7 billion to 22 women and their families who said asbestos in Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder caused their cancers.
Talc is mined from mineral deposits that can be contaminated with asbestos. Johnson & Johnson has said its powder is routinely tested to ensure there's no asbestos.
But in October, Johnson & Johnson recalled 33,000 bottles of baby powder after Food and Drug Administration testing revealed trace amounts of asbestos. The company disputed the findings and said earlier this month that its own testing, performed by two independent labs, found no traces of asbestos.