(Reuters) – 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.
Jurors found Johnson & Johnson liable for fraud, negligence and conspiracy, the family’s lawyers said. Deliberations lasted four hours, following a three-week trial. 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. Wesympathize 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.