After Win Against Johnson & Johnson in Talcum Powder Lawsuit, Son Honors His Late Mother

Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay $72 million in civil case.

ByABC News
February 24, 2016, 3:57 PM

— -- A jury has awarded the family of a Missouri woman $72 million in a civil suit -- a court battle carried on by Marvin Salter on behalf of his late mother.

On Monday, a St. Louis jury found Johnson & Johnson liable for Jackie Fox's ovarian cancer, which she claimed in the lawsuit was the result of using the company's Baby Powder and Shower to Shower powder, both of which contained talcum powder, according to court documents.

Fox, of Birmingham, Alabama, was diagnosed with cancer in 2013, according to court papers. She died last fall at age 62 after her ovarian cancer returned. Her son, Marvin Salter, took over the case after her death and was awarded the damages.

"Continuing with this trial was indeed painful, but at the end of the day it was what she wanted," Salter told ABC News. "And because of her wishes is why I continue to move forward with it."

In a moving Facebook post, Salter posted a picture of him and his mother smiling as he honored her battle with cancer.

The jury awarded $10 million for compensatory damages and $62 million for punitive damages to Fox's estate, according to the Beasley Allen Law Firm, which represented Fox.

Her case is one of multiple civil cases against the company related to talcum-containing products filed by Beasley Allen. There are more than 1,200 civil suits against the company related to its talcum-containing products, according to the Associated Press.

Johnson & Johnson told ABC News in a statement that its talcum powder "meets the highest quality, purity and compliance standards."

"The verdict goes against decades of sound science proving the safety of talc as a cosmetic ingredient in multiple products, and while we sympathize with the family of the plaintiff, we strongly disagree with the outcome," a company spokeswoman said. "Ovarian cancer is a complex disease with no known cause and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, National Cancer Institute and Cosmetic Ingredient Review Committee have all concluded that there is insufficient evidence linking talc to ovarian cancer."

Fox's attorneys reportedly introduced into evidence a September 1997 internal memo from a Johnson & Johnson medical consultant suggesting a link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer, according to the AP. In the memo, the consultant reportedly wrote that anyone who denied the risk between hygienic talc powder use and ovarian cancer would be "denying the obvious in the face of all evidence to the contrary," according to the AP.

Two published studies on a possible link between ovarian cancer and exposure to talc powder have been inconclusive. One 2010 study looked at 200,000 women, where 721 cases of ovarian cancer were reported. They found there was a possible association with a specific sub-type of ovarian cancer but emphasized that there were too many variables to draw a direct association between the talcum powder and cancer risk.

Another study looked at data on 11,933 women and found that any possible tie between talcum powder and ovarian cancer could not be determined due to other variables.