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Judge tosses $417M award against Johnson & Johnson

A judge on Friday tossed out a $417 million jury award to a woman who claimed she developed ovarian cancer by using Johnson & Johnson talc-based baby powder for feminine hygiene.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Maren Nelson granted the company’s request for a new trial, saying there were errors and jury misconduct in the previous trial that ended with the award two months ago.

Nelson also ruled that there wasn’t convincing evidence that Johnson & Johnson acted with malice and the award for damages was excessive.

The decision will be appealed even though Eva Echeverria has died, said her attorney, Mark Robinson Jr.

‘We will continue to fight on behalf of all women who have been impacted by this dangerous product,’ he said in a statement.

Echeverria alleged Johnson & Johnson failed to adequately warn consumers about talcum powder’s potential cancer risks. She used the company’s baby powder on a daily basis beginning in the 1950s until 2016 and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007, according to court papers.

The decision will be appealed even though Eva Echeverria has died, said her attorney, Mark Robinson Jr. Echeverria alleged Johnson & Johnson failed to adequately warn consumers about talcum powder’s potential cancer risks.

Echeverria developed ovarian cancer as a ‘proximate result of the unreasonably dangerous and defective nature of talcum powder,’ she said in her lawsuit.

Her attorney contended that documents showed that Johnson & Johnson knew about the risks of talc and ovarian cancer for three decades.

The company said it was pleased with the ruling.

‘Ovarian cancer is a devastating disease – but it is not caused by the cosmetic-grade talc we have used in Johnson’s Baby Powder for decades. The science is clear and we will continue to defend the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder as we prepare for additional trials in the U.S.,’ spokeswoman Carol Goodrich said in a statement.

Similar allegations have led to hundreds of lawsuits against the New Jersey-based company. Jury awards have totaled hundreds of millions of dollars.

However, on Tuesday a Missouri appellate court threw out a $72 million award to the family of an Alabama woman who has died, ruling that the state wasn’t the proper jurisdiction for such a case.

The court cited a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that placed limits on where injury lawsuits could be filed, saying state courts cannot hear claims against companies not based in the state where alleged injuries occurred.

ARE THE WOMEN MOST AT RISK GETTING TESTED?
The latest study reveals a huge 80-fold increase across 11 years from 2003 in woman coming forward for genetic testing to assess their chances of getting breast and ovarian cancer.

However, a study in August suggested Angelina’s call for action has fallen on deaf ears with those most at risk.

It found more than 80% of women with a history of breast cancer and ovarian cancer have not taken the test or even discussed it with a health care provider.

Experts from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Fielding School of Public Health say their findings suggest 1.2million-1.3 million of the 1.5 million at-risk have not considered testing.

They point out this is despite the fact it involves a simple saliva or blood sample.

‘Many of these women have inherited genetic changes that put them and their family members at risk for future cancers,’ said Dr Christopher Childers, the study’s lead author.

‘If individuals are aware that they have these mutations, they can take steps to lower their future cancer risk.’

Written for the Associated Press and published by The Daily Mail ~ October 20, 2016.

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