A new class action talcum powder lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson could cost the company billions over decades. The lawsuit, filed this week in a New Jersey federal court, wants J&J to pay for damages and cancer monitoring for women who used its talc-based products. 

The lawsuit seeks relief from J&J in part in the form of a medical monitoring system that would cover preventative and diagnostic care for women who have been diagnosed with or might develop certain cancers after using Johnson’s Baby Powder or its other talc-based products. It asserts that J&J’s talc products “are defective, dangerous to human health, unfit and unsuitable to be advertised, marketed and sold in the United States, and lacked proper warnings associated with their use.”

J&J already faces over 57,000 talcum powder lawsuits in a New Jersey multidistrict litigation and more lawsuits in state courts. Women and their families in these suits claim J&J’s talc products caused ovarian and other cancers. 

The class action lawsuit would not cover the more than 61,000 plaintiffs who have already sued the company over talc damages. However, the proposed class would include many more women who used J&J’s baby powder and are concerned about developing ovarian cancer in the future. 

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J&J’s Recent Legal Battles, Verdicts & Settlements

J&J has always insisted that their talc products are safe and do not cause cancer. However, thousands of women and their lawyers disagree. They argue that the company knew about the cancer risks for years but did not warn consumers.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs say the company’s recently proposed bankruptcy settlement of $6.48 billion is not enough to cover the future medical needs of these women. J&J has tried to settle these claims through bankruptcy filings twice before, but courts have rejected the attempts. 

J&J has already paid out billions in talc settlements and verdicts. Earlier this month, an Oregon jury ordered J&J to pay $260 million to a woman who claimed her cancer was caused by asbestos in the company’s baby powder.

 J&J also recently reached a $700 million settlement with 42 states and Washington, D.C., over claims that it misled consumers about the safety of its talc products. 

Despite consistent claims its talc products are safe, Johnson & Johnson switched to a cornstarch-based baby powder and stopped selling talc-based powders worldwide in 2023. But the fear and risk remain for many women who used the original products.