What was once thought to be a safe product for women and babies has become the focus of litigation nationwide. Many plaintiffs have filed lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson (J&J), alleging the company’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products caused ovarian cancer. Plaintiffs claim that regular use of these talc-based products for feminine hygiene caused their illness because talc is known to contain asbestos and/or asbestiform fibers. The lawsuits allege that J&J knew about the dangers of this ingredient and should have provided warnings to consumers. In Hillsborough County, two Tampa-area residents have filed lawsuits against J&J, claiming their wives’ deaths to ovarian cancer resulted from the women’s regular use of the company’s talc products.
George Shenefield and Bryan Isa both filed wrongful death lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson; Imerys Talc America, Inc., which mines, processes and distributes the talc used in J&J’s products; and Lakeland-based Publix Super Markets, for selling the products. Their complaints allege that J&J advertised and marketed their products as a symbol of “freshness, cleanliness, and purity,” and as such, safe for human use.
Jacquelyn Shenefield had been using J&J’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products on a daily basis from 1973 until 2011. In 2015, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and died in 2017 at age 69. The complaint provided numerous research studies showing the disease was directly and proximately caused by her regular and prolonged exposure to talcum powder. Tami Isa had also been using these products on a daily basis from 2003 until 2015, when her ovarian cancer was diagnosed. She died in December of that year, at the age of 42.
Both widowers seek damages related to medical treatment expenses for their wives’ ovarian cancer as well as for the loss of companionship, protection, and great mental pain and suffering in the past and future. They have both been suffering anxiety, depression, and stress as a result of their wives’ wrongful deaths, and will require future and ongoing psychological and/or medical treatment.
Under Florida’s products liability law, a manufacturer is strictly liable when damage is caused by a known toxic or harmful substance. The lawsuits against J&J allege the manufacturer knew – or should have reasonably known – that talc, which is known to contain asbestos and/or asbestiform fibers, could be harmful. When a manufacturer knows of a harmful substance and fails to provide adequate warning labels on their products, they are held strictly liable for damages.
When more than one case is filed against a single manufacturer alleging the same substantial injuries, the court could move to certify a class action. This allows for individual cases to be filed with other people who have been similarly harmed.
Frank Charles Miranda, P.A. can help to determine whether compensation is available for injuries from talcum powder products or any other potentially dangerous substance whose risks have not been properly identified by manufacturers. For strong representation in Florida, call us at 813-254-2637 or contact us online.