How Was Awarding of a Woman $70M in Johnson and Johnson Baby Powder Lawsuit Justified by Law?
If not the leading manufacturer of baby powder in the world, then Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder is amongst the top manufacturers in the world. Recently, the company hit the global business headlines when it awarded a loyal client a whopping sum of $70 million as compensation fee. The Californian woman alleged that many years of using the product saw her developing a cancerous infection. In 2012, Deborah Giannecchini was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in Modesto, California and had battled the disease ever since. She decided to sue the manufacturer for professional negligence and failing to sensitize the public about the risks associated with using their products. Law highly justified the compensation, and the jury did a great thing to ensure that Deborah received justice against the multi-billion company.
Despite numerous marketing and promotional activities, Johnson & Johnson have never uncovered the risk that their clients are subjected. This behavior can be categorized as negligence conduct and is punishable by law. Every manufacturer is required to educate the consumers of their goods on both the pros and cons associated with the products. The Federal Product Liability Law puts strict measures and punishments against breach of trust by any manufacturing company (Danckert 1). The manufacturer is obliged to provide adequate information about the ingredients used in producing their goods, and also state the risks associated with each element. Besides Deborah's lawsuit, the company was liable for many other deaths and health complications as its clients perished as a result of using the powder for extended periods. In 2015, Jacqueline Fox from Alabama had been diagnosed with various conditions ranging from arthritis, high blood pressure, and diabetes. A few days later, she was also diagnosed with ovarian cancer. After a long period of suffering and losing some of her organs to cancer, she decided to seek the services of a lawsuit advisor. This is after health experts had examined the cause of her infection and linked it to talc (a mineral that contains silicon, magnesium, and oxygen). Talc was the main ingredient in Talcum powder that was produced by J & J (Danckert 1). Fox explained how she used to sprinkle her inner garments with the powder since her early teenage years. She passed on in October that year, and the results of post-mortem pointed to talc as the main cause of death.
Had it not been realized at an early stage, Deborah's infection would have escalated to a severe state, and maybe; she would also be among the deceased victims of the infectious powder. Thus, the $70m compensation was a less amount compared to the value of her lost health. The company has enjoyed billions of profit from duping its clients and denying them the critical information (Berfield, Feeley, & Cronin 1). Hence, the sales were facilitated by the wrong and unprofessional tactics employed by the manufacturer. Cigarette manufacturing companies can be a perfect example to Jonson & Johnson Baby Powder. For instance, on every pack of cigarettes, there is a warning aimed to educate the consumer about the adverse effects of smoking. The warnings are in line with the manufacturing and packaging laws that seek to protect unsuspecting consumers from exploitations. Given that the packets of the powder had warnings on them, maybe Deborah, Fox, and other unnamed users would not have used the product to avoid possible infections. Other users would also use it moderately to stay safe.
Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder was found guilty of a conspiracy to deny consumers a chance to make a choice about the product by withholding crucial information from them. Every consumer is entitled to information about the products they buy and use, hence; their choices are based on the information provided. About 1000 women were infected due to massive use of the powder, and the majority of these women have already filed cases against the company (Berfield, Feeley, & Cronin 1). The National Toxicology Program in association with other health agencies have conducted numerous scientific researches and proved that indeed, the powder is unsafe for use. They have also managed to link it to the majority of infections, thus; making J & J liable to pay the affected clients for the damages accrued. These compensations are justifiable since the company knowingly misled consumers and let them use a toxic product which they thought was fully safe. In 2006, WHO classified the perineal use of talc-based powders into group 2B Human Carcinogen which was a dangerous category of toxic substances (Danckert 1). However, there was no indication on the packs to show that J & J powder contained talc. The move by the company was highly rebuked across many states in the US and the neighboring countries for exploiting people.
Conclusively, the company should compensate every woman who proves that the use of talcum powder subjected her to ovarian cancer. Failure to punish the manufacturer for the heinous crime can encourage other companies to breach consumer trust to fulfill selfish motives. However, no amount of money can be comparable to human health or life; but it is better that victims are relieved of the financial burden to carter for expensive medications and treatments of cancer. This is significant in protecting the rights of every consumer and preventing scrupulous manufacturers from exploiting their clients. Such lawsuits can go a long way in streamlining the manufacturing sector and ensuring the safety of the unsuspecting population.
Berfield, Susan, Jef Feeley, and Margaret Cronin. "Johnson & Johnson Has a Baby Powder
Problem." Bloomberg News (2016): 1.
Danckert, Sarah. "Conflicting Views on Talc-cancer Link. US Women Sue Rio Tinto and
Johnson & Johnson." The Advocate (2016): 1.
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