What is the Average Settlement for Talcum Powder Lawsuit?

No two talcum powder lawsuits are the same. Some plaintiffs may have it worse than others depending on how bad their condition got after being exposed to J&J'S talc-based baby powder.
Updated on September 6, 2022
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If you are someone who was exposed to Johnson & Johnson’s talcum-based baby powder, developed cancer because of it, and are now planning to file a lawsuit against the pharmaceutical giant, taking your case to court may sometimes do more harm than good. The exorbitant court costs, legal fees, and the extensive trial process are likely to impede your recovery, which is why many talcum powder lawsuits are settled before any legal proceedings are done.

But while talcum powder lawsuit settlements seem like the more convenient option, it does not always mean that settling your case is the best solution. Depending on the facts of the case, talcum powder lawsuit settlements may end up being unfair to plaintiffs.

Before making any decisions and accepting any settlement offers from Johnson & Johnson, talcum powder victims should first discuss their case with a lawyer and weigh the available options. Seeking the help of talcum powder attorneys also provides an opportunity to review similar talcum powder lawsuits and base the settlement amounts on previous cases so plaintiffs can negotiate a better deal.

So what is the average settlement amount for a talcum powder lawsuit?

Average Talcum Powder Lawsuit Settlement Amount

There is no fixed settlement amount that each plaintiff is guaranteed to get because every talcum powder case is unique. In addition, several factors such as age, overall health conditions before and after the cancer diagnosis, and provable frequency of talcum powder use and exposure all come into play. Therefore, they will affect how much a talcum powder victim will receive.

Moreover, the terms of the settlement agreements between J&J and the plaintiffs are rarely made public and always confidential, so it is likely impossible to determine how much each settlement costs.

Some talcum powder cases are also part of a class-action lawsuit in multidistrict litigation (MDL). Cases included in this are not settled individually and equally, so it would be difficult to put an exact dollar figure for each talcum powder settlement.

J&J previously announced that it would be paying $100 million to settle a group of 1,000 cases which works out to $100,000 per case. But because of the confidential nature of settlements, this amount is speculative at best as there is no way to be confident how much an individual talcum powder settlement will cost.

Factors That Affect the Talcum Powder Lawsuit Settlement Amount

No two talcum powder lawsuits are the same. Some plaintiffs may have it worse than others depending on how bad their condition got after being exposed to J&J’S talc-based baby powder, so there is no fixed amount on how much they will get. Several factors can also influence a talcum powder lawsuit settlement, so getting exact figures for your losses can be challenging.

However, some factors are more common than others, so while each talcum powder lawsuit is unique, the following factors will always affect the settlement amount.

  • Previous, ongoing, and future medical costs

Plaintiffs exposed to J&J’S talc-based baby powder may be eligible to recover the costs of past, present, and even expected future medical bills related to their cancer diagnosis. In addition, severe and long-term physical, mental, and emotional suffering often translate to higher hospitalization costs, so a talcum powder lawsuit that involves these kinds of suffering will undoubtedly take more time and cost more.

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  • Lost income

After exposure to talc-based baby powder, suffering from cancer can render the victim useless for a long time after their diagnosis. Even if they manage to fully recover and overcome cancer, there is a chance that they may not be able to work in the same capacity again, or worse, become unable to do anything at all because their diagnosis left them completely disabled.

  • Pain and suffering damages

As far as talcum powder lawsuits are concerned, damages are not only physical and financial. While not quantifiable in bills and receipts, mental and emotional suffering can be just as painful and stressful, if not more.

The trauma a cancer patient will endure long after their diagnosis can be as lasting as the physical deterioration they will experience due to the deadly disease. And since there is no way to determine how much a person’s pain and suffering cost, these kinds of damages will significantly vary for each talcum powder victim.

  • Loss of joy of living

Suppose the cancer diagnosis leaves a talcum powder victim permanently disabled and unable to enjoy life the way they did before they got the disease. In that case, they can pursue damages to compensate for cancer’s impact on their life. While no amount could ever make up for a life-long disability, the justice system can work to provide some monetary respite.

Settlement vs. Trial

Assigning value to each talcum powder lawsuit means projecting how much the jury will award and how much J&J is willing to pay. It also means identifying the settlement amount the plaintiffs are willing to accept should they decide to resolve the case outside of the court.

Two major factors come into play when valuing the settlement amount of talcum powder lawsuits: the extent of the plaintiff’s damages and the extent of J&J’s liability.

However, if a plaintiff cannot provide substantial evidence to establish J&J’s fault, the lawsuit settlement amount could significantly decrease, even if the individuals have tremendously suffered from cancer as a result of constant exposure to talc-based baby powder products.

Should that be the case, J&J might be more inclined to contest their liability in court instead of settling. The plaintiffs may find it challenging to negotiate for higher settlement compensation payouts.

For the same reason, many talcum powder victims are more likely to accept a lower settlement amount because of the risk of not getting anything at trial.

Why Talcum Powder Settlements Can Be Ideal

Talcum powder settlements may not always be the best course of action for every talcum powder lawsuit, but there are a few reasons why they can be more beneficial than trials.

  • Guaranteed payout

In a talcum powder lawsuit settlement, the compensation is guaranteed once both the plaintiffs and the defendant J&J agree on the terms. After all, nothing ensures recovery than being able to financially support it.

With legal intervention and involvement of the federal court, the amount the talcum powder plaintiffs will receive may not be as high as anticipated. And while most of the talcum powder lawsuits have generally had favorable outcomes so far, engaging a multibillion-dollar company like J&J in a legal battle is usually more of a financial burden to the plaintiffs than the business they are going against.

  • Avoiding the additional financial burden

Talcum powder lawsuits and other legal proceedings are costly for both parties, but especially for the plaintiffs. Not all talcum powder victims are financially capable of pursuing a talcum powder litigation in court, and even J&J will not want to spend more than they already need to compensate for the plaintiffs’ losses.

  • Saves time

It can take a while before a talcum powder lawsuit gets assigned to a judge for trial, and once it does, it may take months or even years before a verdict is reached. Add that to the considerable amount of money both parties will be forced to spend on various court costs, and a talcum powder settlement instantly becomes the more practical option.

  • Convenience

Another advantage of a lawsuit settlement is the opportunity for the plaintiffs and J&J to structure the settlement in a way that works for both of them. For instance, instead of receiving the talcum powder settlement amount in a lump sum, the plaintiffs may decide to receive it in installments, provided that J&J agrees to this payment setup as well.

  • Preventing a negative verdict

There are two types of valuation used to determine the settlement amount in talcum powder lawsuits: trial value and settlement value. The trial value is the amount you expect the court to award, while the settlement value is the amount the plaintiffs hope to settle their talcum powder cases for.

These values are rarely equal to each other. Because victims are settling a talcum powder case to avoid the risk of losing at trial, the settlement value will always be much lower than the trial value. But even though the settlement value is less than the trial value, at least the compensation is guaranteed.

The Beginning of the J&J Talcum Powder Lawsuits

Baby powder is known to be more commonly used among infants to absorb moisture and prevent diaper rash, but adult men and women often use this as well to soothe friction in the genital area. But while baby powder is standard in many households, discoveries have been made through the years regarding the hazards of talcum, the main ingredient in many baby powder brands.

Because of the dangers of talcum, a mineral found in many baby powder brands, tens of thousands of lawsuits have already been filed against several manufacturers of talcum powder products, the biggest of which is American multinational healthcare company Johnson & Johnson.

According to the complainants, J&J failed to disclose the presence of talcum in their baby powder products and continued to insist that they are safe despite knowing the dangers and health risks that may arise due to their continued use.

As the talcum powder lawsuits piled up over time, J&J has gotten deeper into financial and legal trouble, spending billions of dollars in settlements, verdicts, and court costs.

The Main Ingredient in Johnson and Johnson’s Baby Powder

The main ingredient in J&J’s baby powder is talc, also known as talcum powder. On their website, J&J describes talc as a “naturally occurring mineral that is highly stable, chemically inert, and odorless.” The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also explains that talc is “mined from the earth, composed of magnesium, silicon, oxygen, and hydrogen.”

According to J&J, talcum powder has been tested and proven safe by many studies and research conducted by medical experts across the globe. They also said that science and several clinical evidence have shown talcum powder “is accepted as safe for use in cosmetic and personal care products throughout the world.”

Talcum Powder and Asbestos

According to the National Cancer Institute, asbestos has been confirmed as a human carcinogen by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) — the World Health Organization’s cancer research arm.

J&J is known to take great pride in the “high purity” of the cosmetic talc they use in their baby powder. However, in its purest form, talcum powder usually contains asbestos.

Moreover, asbestos-like talcum powder — is also a naturally occurring mineral. And because these two minerals are typically found close to each other in many talc mining sites, it makes talcum powder highly susceptible to asbestos contamination.

Ovarian Cancer and Mesothelioma

Testicular cancer, lung cancer, uterine cancer, talcosis, pneumonia, asthma — these are just some of the illnesses linked to talcum baby powder exposure. But in the tens of thousands of talcum powder lawsuits that have been filed through the years, two cancer types seem to be the most prevalent among the plaintiffs: ovarian cancer and mesothelioma.

Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is an oft fatal cancer type developing in the female reproductive system. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ovarian cancer is a “group of diseases that originates in the ovaries or the related areas of the fallopian tubes and the peritoneum.”

In many of the talcum baby powder lawsuits, the female plaintiffs have claimed that they developed ovarian cancer due to talcum powder exposure. Most female plaintiffs have been using J&J’s baby powder for years — either for their babies or in their genital areas — and they believe their continued use of J&J’s talcum powder products led them to be diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

According to consumer advocacy organization Drugwatch, when J&J’s powder is often used in the genital area as part of a frequent feminine hygiene routine, the tiny talc particles can easily “travel through the vagina, uterus, and fallopian tubes to the ovaries.”

Once those talc particles have settled in the ovaries, they can stay there for a long time and may take years before they are dissolved. This can cause chronic inflammation of the ovaries and creates a favorable condition for cancerous tumors to develop over time.

Talcum Powder and Mesothelioma

According to The Mesothelioma Center, mesothelioma is a “malignant tumor that is caused by inhaled asbestos fibers and forms in the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart.” For people diagnosed with this deadly illness, life expectancy is about 12 months at most after diagnosis.

The most common symptoms of mesothelioma include shortness of breath, respiratory complications, dry cough, chest or abdominal pain, pleural effusion (fluid around the lungs), fever or night sweats, weakness in the muscles, and fatigue.

The Mesothelioma Center explains how asbestos affects humans and eventually causes the development of mesothelioma. On their website, they show how mesothelioma progresses in the body.

  • A person inhales or swallows microscopic airborne asbestos fibers.
  • The asbestos fibers become lodged in the lungs, abdomen, or heart lining.
  • Embedded fibers damage mesothelial cells and cause inflammation.
  • Over time, tumors form on the damaged mesothelium, leading to mesothelioma.

But mesothelioma does not develop overnight. According to Drugwatch, mesothelioma is usually diagnosed 20-50 years after exposure to asbestos-contaminated talc. And because symptoms do not show straight away, it can be difficult to diagnose until it is already too late.

Who Can File a Talc Powder Lawsuit?

Most plaintiffs who have filed talcum powder lawsuits were diagnosed with ovarian cancer, mesothelioma, or a similar cancer type linked to talc powder exposure. Most of them were also exposed to talc powder because J&J’S baby powder products have been a staple in their feminine hygiene routine for years.

So who are the individuals eligible to file a talc powder lawsuit?

  • Anyone who had been exposed to and has used J&J’s baby powder and other talc-based products on their genital area and other body parts for more than four years
  • Anyone who is officially diagnosed with ovarian cancer, mesothelioma, or similar cancer types due to known and confirmed talc powder exposure and currently undergoing treatment/medication
  • Anyone who is formally diagnosed with ovarian cancer, mesothelioma, or other similar cancer types due to known and confirmed talc powder exposure but has not been required to undergo treatment/medication
  • Anyone who has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, mesothelioma, or other similar cancer types in 2009 or later
  • Anyone who has used talc powder before menopause
  • Anyone who lost a loved one to ovarian cancer, mesothelioma, or other similar cancer types due to known and confirmed talc powder exposure

The Most Notable Talcum Powder Lawsuits Through the Years

Judith Winkel v. Colgate-Palmolive (May 2015) – Winkel claimed that Colgate-Palmolive’s Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder caused her mesothelioma after using the product from 1961 until 1976. The jury awarded her $13 million, but before they could decide on the amount of additional punitive damages, her case had already been settled for an undisclosed amount.

Jacqueline Fox v. Johnson & Johnson (February 2016) – Fox was the first-ever female complainant to achieve a favorable ovarian cancer verdict against J&J. After using J&J’s talcum products religiously for 35 years, Fox was eventually diagnosed with ovarian cancer and died in October 2015. Four months later, a St. Louis jury awarded her $72 million. But in October 2017, this decision was reversed by the Missouri Court of Appeals.

Deborah Giannecchini v. Johnson & Johnson (October 2016) – Giannecchini had been using the Johnson & Johnson talcum powder on her genitals for about 40 years. As a result, she developed ovarian cancer and was diagnosed in 2016 to have an 80% chance of dying in the next two years. Fortunately for Giannecchini, the jury ruled in favor of her and awarded her roughly $70 million and an additional $2 million paid by co-defendant Imerys, one of J&J’s major talc suppliers.

Philip Depoian v. Whittaker, Clark & Daniels (October 2016) – Depoian used to frequent the barbershop his father worked at and claimed that his mesothelioma diagnosis was a result of inhaling talc particles and asbestos exposure from talcum powders in his father’s workplace. A Los Angeles jury eventually ruled in favor of him and awarded him $18 million to be paid by talc supplier Whittaker, Clark & Daniels.

Lois Slemp v. Johnson & Johnson (May 2017) – Slemp alleged that her ovarian cancer is caused by J&J’s talcum powder products that she had been using for over 40 years. A St. Louis jury awarded her $110 million in compensatory and punitive damages, but the ruling was reversed in October 2019.

Eva Echeverria v. Johnson & Johnson (August 2017) – Echeverria claimed that her continued talcum powder use for over 40 years caused her to develop ovarian cancer. A California jury ruled in favor of her, and she was awarded $417 million, but she died the following month after winning her case. In 2017, the verdict was overturned.

Richard Booker v. Imerys Talc America (December 2017) – Booker sued talc supplier Imerys alongside Dexter Midland Chemical Co., Walter N. Boysen Co., and Vanderbilt Minerals after he was diagnosed with mesothelioma as a result of his constant exposure to asbestos-contaminated talc found in the paint he was making when he was still working for Dexter Midland and Boysen. Booker died in 2016 and was awarded over $22 million in damages by a California jury about a year after his death.

Stephen Lanzo III v. Johnson & Johnson (April 2018) – Lanzo III sued J&J and its talc supplier Imerys after he developed mesothelioma from constant use of J&J’s baby powder and Shower to Shower for years. A New Jersey jury eventually awarded Lanzo III $117 million in damages, but this verdict was later overturned in April 2021 to rule in favor of J&J.

Missouri class action lawsuit (July 2018) – Twenty-two women were behind this landmark class-action lawsuit. All claimed J&J’s asbestos-contaminated talcum baby powder had caused them to develop ovarian cancer. As a result, a St. Louis jury awarded them a whopping $4.69 billion in damages. J&J appealed the ruling, but the decision was not reversed, and the initial verdict was upheld.

Douglas Barden et al v. Johnson & Johnson (September 2019) – Plaintiffs Douglas Barden, Will Ronning, D’Angela Mcneill-George, and David Etheridge claimed that they got mesothelioma after they ingested asbestos and talc particles from using the Johnson & Johnson talcum powder. A New Jersey jury awarded them $37.2 million in compensatory damages and $750 million in punitive damages.

Christina Prudencio v. Johnson & Johnson (August 2021) – Plaintiff claimed that her long-term J&J talcum powder use led to her mesothelioma diagnosis. She was eventually awarded by a California jury with $26.5 million and an additional $100,000 million in punitive damages.

Latest Updates on the Talcum Powder Lawsuit

The talcum powder class action and individual lawsuits are not yet over, but the litigation has come to a temporary halt while J&J subsidiary LTL Management awaits its bankruptcy ruling–a move many talcum powder plaintiffs consider as a delaying tactic from J&J to avoid accountability.

This may be a classic case of “justice delayed is justice denied,” but for the plaintiffs of the remaining 19,000 untried talcum powder cases, they can only remain hopeful. After all, the outcome of their lawsuits is still anyone’s guess.

So far, more than 35,000 talcum powder cases have been filed in federal and state courts across the United States.

As for J&J, they must only hope that the odds will continue to be in their favor in future legal proceedings. The company may have recently had a favorable ruling that allowed LTL Management to proceed with its bankruptcy case. Still, the talcum powder litigation is not going to end anytime soon.

Either way, both parties intend to win at whatever cost. But until when can the legal battle go on? Time can only tell.

J&J has already discontinued the sale of their talc-based baby powder in the United States and Canada. Still, their baby powder remains on most supermarket shelves in many parts of the world. To date, J&J has not yet expressed any plans of pulling out their baby powder from more retailers.

Final Thoughts on the Talcum Powder Lawsuit

Trials can be messy, consume a lot of time, and exhaust many resources. Unfortunately, because of the hassle with such tedious legal processes, talcum powder settlements quickly become the more obvious and convenient option for many talcum powder victims.

But while this may be true, future plaintiffs considering future talcum powder lawsuits should also assess first if a settlement is what they deserve and how they want their case to be resolved. With the right talcum powder lawyer, you can come up with an educated decision and arrive at a settlement amount that is fair, just, and will compensate you enough for all the trouble and suffering you have been through.

As the talcum powder litigation goes on, it could mean that the end of this legal battle is far from over. If you or a loved one have been exposed to Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder or other talc-based powder products and have reasonable cause to believe that you developed serious health risks because of it, reach out us to see if you can still participate in an ongoing talcum powder lawsuit.

Join the Many is here to provide a free, no obligation case review to determine if you may be eligible for a settlement. If you are, we’ll carefully match you with the best attorney for your case. There are no legal fees unless you win compensation. Contact us today to get started.

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