What is the average settlement for talcum powder lawsuits?

Because each product liability lawsuit varies by the plaintiff’s specific damages and lifestyle factors, there is no average settlement for talcum powder lawsuits. Additionally, the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation recorded 18,283 active cases in MDL-2738, multidistrict litigation (MDL) against Johnson & Johnson, through July 2020. More people continue to join the MDL or file individual lawsuits that have not settled yet. 

If you or a loved one developed cancer or another illness due to using talcum powder products made by Johnson & Johnson or another producer, you might qualify to demand compensation from the manufacturer. You can work with a product liability lawyer to prepare your case for litigation or join a mass tort to pursue compensation.

Potential talcum powder lawsuit settlement amounts: What can plaintiffs expect?

As mentioned, there is not an average settlement for talcum powder lawsuits because each case is unique to the plaintiff’s situation. Before you file a talcum powder lawsuit, your lawyer will generally send a demand letter that details how much compensation you intend to pursue from a liable party based on the economic (financial) and noneconomic (nonfinancial) damages you experienced as a result of your injury or illness. 

This demand letter will also detail how the liable party’s negligence contributed to your damages and, therefore, why you are entitled to compensation from them. Your lawyer can review your case to determine which compensatory damages you may claim, then estimate a monetary value for them using tangible evidence or specific formulas. 

If you developed mesothelioma, ovarian cancer, or another type of cancer after using talc-based products, you might qualify to recover the medical expenses you have already paid and might expect to pay in the future. You could demand compensation for these healthcare costs:

  • Diagnostic tests, such as bloodwork or biopsies
  • Imaging exams, such as X-rays, ultrasounds, MRIs, or CT scans
  • Surgeries
  • Hospitalization
  • Inpatient or outpatient care
  • Emergency room treatment
  • Doctor’s appointments
  • Chemotherapy and radiation treatment
  • Physical and mental therapy sessions
  • Medical support equipment, such as wheelchairs or oxygen tanks
  • Prescription medications

Depending on how far you travel to receive medical care for your illness, you may also qualify to recover mileage costs. Alternatively, suppose you couldn’t drive because of your condition and needed to pay for travel services, such as a rideshare or shuttle service. In that case, you could also demand compensation for these expenses.

Your mass tort lawsuit attorney may also factor in future medical expenses you might incur based on the severity of your illness and whether you require long-term treatment. They may consult your medical care providers to estimate these costs.

Loss of income

If you lost income as a result of your injury or illness, you could claim compensation to recover your average weekly earnings. For example, this claim might apply if you had to take extensive time off to attend medical appointments. Alternatively, if you had to take a leave of absence or quit your job because you were too sick to fulfill your work duties, you might also qualify for this type of damage. 

Other damages related to income loss include:

  • Reduced earning potential: Some victims may still be able to work, but their injury or illness prevents them from fulfilling regular work tasks. As such, their employer might move them to a lower-paying position, or the individual must leave their profession for another field. If either applies to you, you could demand compensation for the difference in salary you now earn.
  • Loss of benefits: Many Americans have health insurance tied to their employer. If your illness led to losing your job, this could have had a secondary effect of losing your benefits, forcing you to pay for medical expenses out of your pocket. You may pursue compensation for the health insurance coverage you lost.
  • Future income loss: If your injury or illness causes physical or mental damage that leaves you unable to work, you could factor in how much future income you expect to lose. Your lawyer may use your previous salary information and consult an economist to reach these values.

Pain and suffering

“Pain and suffering” refers to a victim’s physical, mental, and emotional damages. These damages do not traditionally have a financial value since they are subjective. However, law firms can use specific formulas to measure a plaintiff’s pain and suffering. Your lawyer can explain their methods to calculate your pain and suffering in a future consultation.

Some examples of damages that fall under “pain and suffering” include:

  • Physical pain, such as chronic pain, chronic inflammation, and muscle soreness
  • Emotional distress, including depression, anxiety, and insomnia
  • Psychological trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), commonly found in cancer survivors who fear a recurrence 
  • Permanent disability, such as organ damage
  • Diminished quality of life

You may claim other damages not listed in this section, as pain and suffering depends on how a plaintiff’s injury or illness personally affected their lives. Your legal team should give you the freedom to express your grievances so they can measure the impact your injury had on you.

Other types of damages

Other types of damages may relate to how becoming sick with cancer has affected your relationships with partners, children, and friends. For example, your illness might strain your marriage if it requires your spouse to become a part- or full-time caregiver for you. In some cases, that kind of strain can lead to a divorce. 

Families who lost a loved one to cancer caused by talc-based products may file a wrongful death action to pursue compensation for:

  • Costs to arrange the decedent’s funeral
  • Costs to bury or cremate the decedent
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of financial support or inheritance
  • Medical debts
  • Loss of companionship, guidance, love, and affection

Talcum powder settlements

As more people become aware of talcum powder lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and its talc supplier Imerys, more people who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer or mesothelioma have come forward. People who have suffered severe health issues because of these talc-based products have a right to hold J&J and other defendants accountable for their negligence. 

Below are some of the major verdicts against J&J. If you are interested in building a product liability case against J&J or another company that produced talc-based goods, you can work with a personal injury lawyer to file a talcum powder lawsuit.

$4.7 billion verdict for 22 women (July 2018)

In July 2018, 22 women and their families won a $4.7 billion verdict against Johnson & Johnson. The plaintiffs alleged that each developed ovarian cancer after using talc-based products manufactured by J&J for decades. NPR reported that the verdict awarded $4.14 billion in punitive damages against the pharmaceutical company and $550 million in compensatory damages.

Two years later, a Missouri appeals court rejected J&J’s request to reverse the verdict. The Associated Press reported the court stated in part that “(w)e find there was significant reprehensibility in defendants’ conduct.” However, the appeals court reduced the verdict to $2.1 billion on procedural grounds. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear J&J’s final appeal in June 2021.

J&J continues to deny allegations that it failed to warn women and other users about the dangers associated with talc powder. It also asserts that its talcum powder products are asbestos-free and safe to use. By the time the Missouri court heard the appeal in June 2020, J&J faced over 19,000 talcum powder lawsuits, many still awaiting trial and jury verdicts.

Joanne Anderson v. Johnson & Johnson et al. – $25.7 million verdict (May 2018)

In May 2018, Joanne Anderson received a $25.7 million verdict in a baby powder case against Johnson & Johnson and other defendants, reported NJ.com. About $21.7 million went toward Anderson’s compensatory damages, while $4 million was awarded as punitive damages against J&J for acting “with malice, oppression or fraud.” 

Anderson alleged that she developed mesothelioma from using baby powder products manufactured by the company, which failed to warn users about potential traces of asbestos found in its talcum powder. Anderson’s case also alleged that the company “engaged in a multi-decade campaign wherein they hid testing data.” 

Stephen Lanzo v. Johnson & Johnson – $117 million verdict (April 2018)

In April 2018, Stephen Lanzo and his wife won their case against Johnson & Johnson and Imerys, leading to a $117 million verdict. The New Jersey jury awarded Lanzo $30 million in compensatory damages and his wife $7 million. 

Lanzo alleged that he developed mesothelioma after decades of using Johnson & Johnson talc powder products. His case asserted that the talc powder products contained traces of asbestos, which is the leading cause of mesothelioma. However, J&J and Imerys denied these allegations. Imerys representative Gwen Myers told CNN that they believed Lanzo’s cancer stemmed from “a difference source,” like his childhood home. 

However, according to a report from My Central Jersey, courts overturned the ruling in April 2021. The Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division found that “the trial court erred by failing to sever the claims” in reversing the decision.

Lois Slemp v. Johnson & Johnson – $110 million verdict (May 2017)

In May 2017, Lois Slemp won her case against Johnson & Johnson and Imerys, leading to a $110 million verdict, which awarded $105 million of punitive damages from J&J and $50,000 from Imerys. Other awards went toward the plaintiff’s compensatory damages ($5.4 million), reported CNBC

Slemp alleged that she developed ovarian cancer after using Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based products for over 40 years. She received the ovarian cancer diagnosis in 2012, then filed her case when cancer returned and spread to her liver. The jury concluded that J&J was 99 percent at fault for Slemp’s health consequences and that Imerys held one percent of the liability. 

The Missouri Court of Appeals later overturned the verdict because Slemp was a resident of Virginia, not Missouri.

Deborah Giannecchini v. Johnson & Johnson – $70 million verdict (October 2016)

In October 2016, Deborah Giannecchini won a $70 million verdict for her personal injury lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson. Giannecchini developed ovarian cancer and alleged that the talcum powder products she used led to the illness. She brought her case forward after watching a commercial that alerted people who developed ovarian cancer and mesothelioma that talcum powder products used as feminine hygiene may be an underlying cause. 

According to NBC News, a J&J representative argued that Giannecchini did not present evidence to support these claims, and there was no need to add warning labels to their products. Giannecchini’s case served as the fourth successful verdict against the company.

Johnson & Johnson later filed a notice of appeal. According to the Los Angeles Times, a Missouri appellate court also determined that Giannecchini should not have qualified for compensation because she was not a Missouri resident.

Gloria Ristesund v. Johnson & Johnson – $55 million verdict (May 2016)

In May 2016, CNBC reported on a Missouri case filed by Gloria Ristesund. The plaintiff claimed that she developed ovarian cancer after using Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower Powder products for decades. The diagnosis forced her to undergo a hysterectomy and other surgeries to treat cancer. The jury awarded Ristesund $55 million—$5 million compensatory and $50 million for punitive damages. 

According to a 2018 report by Reuters, Johnson & Johnson appealed the decision, which was granted by a three-judge panel of the Missouri Court of Appeals. The panel overturned the verdict on the basis that a 2017 U.S. Supreme Court decision eliminated the Missouri trial court’s jurisdiction to hear her case.

Talcum powder lawsuit eligibility

You may be eligible to file a talcum powder lawsuit in your state if:

  • You developed mesothelioma or another asbestos-related cancer (e.g., lung or larynx cancer) after using specific talcum powder products produced by Johnson & Johnson or another manufacturer.
  • You developed ovarian cancer after using specific talcum powder products. 
  • You are a surviving relative or spouse of a person who passed away from cancer caused by specific talcum powder products. 

Many law firms offer free case reviews to go over the details of your case and identify whether you have grounds to file a talc powder lawsuit in your state. 

What products have been named in talcum powder lawsuits?

Plaintiffs who have filed actions have alleged the following talc-based powder products contributed to their cancer diseases:

  • Johnson’s Baby Powder
  • Shower to Shower
  • Gold Bond

This product list is not exhaustive. Other talc-based products could cause users to develop cancer. A product liability attorney can review your case.

Consult a law firm near you about hiring a lawsuit attorney to build your case

If you developed ovarian cancer or another illness as a result of long-term use of talcum powder products manufactured by Johnson & Johnson or another producer, you might qualify to file for compensation from the manufacturer. We can refer you to a law firm in your area that handles product liability cases. The first consultation will be free and allow you to ask questions about what to expect from working with a personal injury lawyer to pursue compensation. 

Fill out our contact form today for help with your case or to learn more about pursuing damages from the manufacturer.