ST. LOUIS (CN) - An Alabama woman's family was awarded $72 million by a St. Louis jury Monday night on her claims that she developed ovarian cancer through the longtime use of Johnson & Johnson baby powder and other talc-based products.
Jacqueline Fox, 62, of Birmingham, Ala., died last October from the cancer. Her son took over as plaintiff after her death and jurors heard from Fox in an audio deposition recorded before her death.
Fox claimed she used the Johnson & Johnson products for feminine hygiene purposes for 35 years. Fox's lawsuit is one of many from across the country alleging that Johnson & Johnson failed to warn of a possible link between ovarian cancer and talcum powder.
A St. Louis jury deliberated for nearly five hours Monday after a three-week trial. It found Johnson & Johnson guilty of negligence, conspiracy and fraud, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
The verdict includes $10 million in actual damages and $62 million in punitive damages.
Johnson & Johnson, based in New Brunswick, N.J., is expected to appeal the verdict.
"We have no higher responsibility than the health and safety of consumers, and we are disappointed with the outcome of the trial," Carol Goodrich, a spokeswoman for Johnson & Johnson, said in an email to the Post-Dispatch on Tuesday morning. "We sympathize with the plaintiff's family but firmly believe the safety of cosmetic talc is supported by decades of scientific evidence."
Jere Beasley, Fox's lawyer, told the Post-Dispatch that his Alabama firm had heard from more than 6,000 potential clients over the years. The case ended up in St. Louis after Beasley and a Mississippi lawyer joined with a St. Louis firm representing several women who also have ovarian cancer.
Fox was the first of the plaintiffs whose case went to trial, according to the Post-Dispatch.
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