Hands Covered With Talc-Based PowderBy the summer of 2019, it was well known that Johnson & Johnson was facing civil lawsuits from people who had suffered cancer after using the company’s talcum-based baby powder. More than 14,000 baby powder users, or their survivors, claim that baby powder caused their ovarian cancer or mesothelioma. Several juries have found that Johnson & Johnson knew its baby powder and Shower-to-Shower products had at least a little talc and that the company failed to warn the public. To date, juries have awarded more than $5 billion in these cases, but not all of the cases have been resolved yet. Many of those lawsuits are still pending, and others have yet to be filed.

In July 2019, news broke of another type of legal problem for Johnson & Johnson.

Johnson & Johnson Faces Criminal Charges

The United States Department of Justice is reportedly pursuing a criminal investigation to determine whether Johnson & Johnson lied to the American public about cancer risks from its talcum-based baby powder. Specifically, a grand jury in Washington is looking at documents related to what Johnson & Johnson knew about carcinogens, or cancer-causing agents, being present in their products, and when the company knew it.

Johnson & Johnson has publicly said that it is cooperating with the Department of Justice and that its baby powder does not contain asbestos or cause cancer. It claims to have independent studies and documentation to support this assertion.

Yet, some of the documentation found in the civil baby powder lawsuits indicate otherwise. Documents from as far back as the 1960s and 1970s reportedly contain warnings from Johnson & Johnson’s own scientists that asbestos was detected in the talc used by the company and that it was a “severe health hazard.”

The criminal investigators are likely looking into whether Johnson & Johnson’s internal memos conflict with the company’s public statements. Johnson & Johnson is a public company, and any knowingly false public statements could violate securities laws.

Currently, it is unknown whether the criminal investigation will result in any charges against Johnson & Johnson.

How Criminal Charges Impact Plaintiffs in Civil Cases

Criminal cases and civil cases are separate legal proceedings. The outcome of the criminal case does not necessarily affect your rights if you have cancer, or your loved one died from cancer, because of Johnson & Johnson’s products. However, the information that comes to light in a criminal case may be relevant to your civil claim. Accordingly, many plaintiffs in civil lawsuits may not want to settle their cases while the criminal investigation is ongoing.

Protect Your Rights in a Civil Lawsuit Against Johnson & Johnson

How a criminal case impacts your civil case is an important question, but it might not be your most pressing question. You likely want to know:

  • Whether you have a potential civil lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson
  • How to start a baby powder cancer case
  • What will happen if you do file a case against Johnson & Johnson
  • Whether you need a lawyer or you can handle your claim independently
  • What’s happened in other civil lawsuits brought against Johnson & Johnson on similar claims
  • What damages you may recover if your case is successful
  • How you can afford to pursue a case

Our mass tort lawyers are here to answer all of your questions. We want you to make informed decisions about your future, and we will provide you with all of the information that you need.

Johnson & Johnson is working hard to defend itself against claims that its talcum-based baby powder is carcinogenic. Our lawyers will work hard for you.

If you have ovarian cancer or mesothelioma, or if your loved one died from one of these cancers, because of Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder use, then we encourage you to contact us for a free and confidential consultation. You are not the only one who has been hurt, but your potential recovery is unique, it is important, and it may be worth pursuing.

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If you have been injured by dangerous drugs you need to speak with an experienced mass torts lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Natick Office directly at 888.904.6847 to schedule your free consultation.


John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney, Massachusetts Social Security Disability Lawyer
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