Court Orders Johnson & Johnson to Pay $72 Million to Dead Cancer Patient's Family
Feb 24, 2016 09:38 AM EST
On Monday night, a jury awarded $72 million to the family of a woman from Alabama who sued Johnson & Johnson. The woman claimed that she developed terminal ovarian cancer after she had used the company's baby powder as well as other products that contained talcum.
Jacqueline Salter Fox from Birmingham was part of a group of about 60 individuals who had filed a civil lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson. In October 2015, however, she succumbed to her cancer at the age of 62. Her son, Marvin, had decided to take over her position as plaintiff.
An attorney for Fox said that the decision of the jury was the first of its kind to result to a monetary award despite over 1,000 other cases throughout the country. This was after the pharmaceutical giant failed to disclose and warn their consumers that their talc-based products may cause cancer. The lawsuits against them claimed that the company failed to disclose the label for decades as a way of boosting sales.
The Guardian reported that the jury's decision was to order J&J to pay Fox $10 million in actual damages along with a $72 million fine in punitive damages.
The jurors of the St. Louis circuit court ruled that J&J was liable for negligence, fraud and conspiracy. They deliberated their decision for four hours after a three-week trial took place. Fox's lawyer claimed that the company had known the risk "as far back as the 1980s." Despite this, however, J&J continued "lying to the public, lying to the regulatory agencies."
In a reported posted by The Daily Mail, a spokeswoman for the New Jersey-based company said that "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." The spokeswoman also shared that J&J was still considering whether or not they will appeal the verdict of the court.
Back when she first filed the case, Fox claimed that she used the company's Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products for her daily feminine hygiene regimen. Fox had used the product for over 35 years prior to having been diagnosed with ovarian cancer three years ago.