A Los Angeles woman is investing in a larger wallet today after a jury awarded her $417 million in a lawsuit against Johnson and Johnson brand.
63-year-old Eva Echeverria started using the brand-name baby powder as part of her daily feminine hygiene routine when she was just 11 years old.
She stopped doing so in 2016, after learning about another woman who, like herself, had developed ovarian cancer after decades of using Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder.
Echeverria stated in her lawsuit that she developed ovarian cancer in 2007 as a “proximate result of the unreasonably dangerous and defective nature of talcum powder.”
Currently hospitalized and undergoing cancer treatments, Echeverria’s attorney, Mark Robinson, said his client hoped the verdict would lead Johnson & Johnson to put additional warning labels on their products.
“Mrs. Echeverria is dying from this ovarian cancer and she said to me all she wanted to do was to help the other women throughout the whole country who have ovarian cancer for using Johnson & Johnson for 20 and 30 years,” Robinson said.
Some other talc-based powders on the market have labels that mention possible risk of ovarian cancer after frequent application in the female genital area. Johnson & Johnson does not.
The company’s spokesperson, Carol Goodrich, said in a statement following the jury’s decision that the company sympathizes with women who are suffering from ovarian cancer, but scientific evidence supports the safety of Johnson’s baby powder.
“She really didn’t want sympathy,” Robinson added on his client’s behalf. “She just wanted to get a message out to help these other women.”
The jury’s decision orders Johnson & Johnson to pay a record $417 million to Echeverria—$68 million in compensatory damages, and a whopping $340 million in punitive damages.
Goodrich says the company plans to appeal the case.
Echeverria’s case may be the highest award on record in lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson, but she certainly isn’t alone in her fight. More than 1,000 other people have filed similar lawsuits against the company, many of which have also been awarded lump sums, but much smaller amounts.
Johnson & Johnson’s additional trials in the U.S. are scheduled for later this year.