Johnson & Johnson was ordered by a Missouri state jury to pay $72 million of damages to the family of a woman whose death from ovarian cancer was linked to her use of the company's talc-based Baby Powder and Shower to Shower for several decades.
In a verdict announced late Monday night, jurors in the circuit court of St. Louis awarded the family of Jacqueline Fox $10 million of actual damages and $62 million of punitive damages, according to the family's lawyers and court records.
The verdict is the first by a U.S. jury to award damages over the claims, the lawyers said.
Johnson & Johnson faces claims that it, in an effort to boost sales, failed for decades to warn consumers that its talc-based products could cause cancer. About 1,000 cases have been filed in Missouri state court, and another 200 in New Jersey.
Fox, who lived in Birmingham, Alabama, claimed she used Baby Powder and Shower to Shower for feminine hygiene for more than 35 years before being diagnosed three years ago with ovarian cancer. She died in October at age 62.
Jurors found Johnson & Johnson liable for fraud, negligence and conspiracy, the family's lawyers said. Deliberations lasted four hours, following a three-week trial.
Jere Beasley, a lawyer for Fox's family, said Johnson & Johnson "knew as far back as the 1980s of the risk," and yet resorted to "lying to the public, lying to the regulatory agencies." He spoke on a conference call with journalists.
Carol Goodrich, a Johnson & Johnson spokeswoman, said: "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."
Trials in several other talc lawsuits have been set for later this year, according to Danielle Mason, who also represented Fox's family at trial.
In October 2013, a federal jury in Sioux Falls, South Dakota found that plaintiff Deane Berg's use of Johnson & Johnson's body powder products was a factor in her developing ovarian cancer. Nevertheless, it awarded no damages, court records show.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc now owns the Shower to Shower brand but was not a defendant in the Fox case.
The case is Hogans et al v. Johnson & Johnson et al, Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis, Missouri, No. 1422-CC09012.
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Andrew Willson, a 48-year-old high school drama teacher in Northampton, UK, was put in prison for 20 months and gave 10 years on the sex offendersâ€™ register after he pleaded guilty to five counts of indecent assult
according to Lancashire Police. The assault occurred in the mid-90s,
when his victimâ€”who was also his studentâ€”was between 14 and 15 years
Willson had the girl pulled out of a science class so she could have sex with him. Prosecutor Emma Kehoe said that, â€œThe two of them had Nutella and licked it from their naked bodies. Mr. Willson was very keen that she got home to catch the school bus though because her parents knew nothing of what was going on.â€ Detective Mick Smith elaborates on Willsonâ€™s horrifying actions to the Lancashire Constabulary,â€œWillson abused his position of trust as a teacher and groomed his victim before taking advantage of her while she was a pupil at the school. Up until his arrest in December 2014 he taught at various schools in the Northampton area.
The victim has shown enormous courage in coming forward and reporting these offences to us and I hope todayâ€™s result brings her some form of closure and enables her to move forward with her life.
I also hope the outcome of this case will encourage other victims to come forward and report crimes to the police safe in the knowledge that we are determined to bring those who commit sexual offences to justice, regardless of when they took place.â€
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