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South Bend family joins talcum powder lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson

WSBT 22 

A South Bend family is joining thousands of others in suing Johnson & Johnson over one of their products.

Many of those lawsuits claim certain items cause ovarian cancer.

WSBT 22 talked to a local woman whose mother may have been affected by this.

These cases have found talcum powder in Johnson & Johnson's baby powder and the “Shower to Shower” products. Items the Davis family trusted and used often.

“Family was extremely important to my mom. She loved having family time."

Photos and memories are all Kessie Davis has left of her mother.

Sadly, she passed away earlier this year from ovarian cancer.

"I didn't really have to worry too much about her,” said Davis. “She wasn't a drinker, she wasn't a smoker. She was very active doing things around the house. For her to come up with ovarian cancer was a shock and kind of a blow.”

Davis' mother Marilyn was diagnosed in 2013.

She was in remission for a few years but the cancer later returned.

Davis says they believe Johnson & Johnson products they trusted caused her mother to become ill.

"She used it daily,” said Davis. “We all used it daily in our family. I mean, it was something that my grandparents did. My great grandparents did. My mom and myself. All the way up until we found out…”

Takeena Thompson represents Davis and her mom.

She says her law firm Cohen and Malad in Indianapolis became involved in the lawsuit two years ago.

Thompson says they represent a couple of hundred women with similar stories.

"They're still in the beginning stages where discoveries are being conducted,” said Thompson. “We're still ordering medical records and we still continue to receive calls every day from women asking to join the lawsuit. So we are still accepting cases.”

Thompson says there are hundreds of documents backing the claims that Johnson & Johnson chose not to remove their products.

"We have information showing that Johnson & Johnson knew as early as the 70s that their products could or were connected to or linked to increased risk of ovarian cancer,” said Thompson. “It is important to represent women to hold Johnson & Johnson responsible for failing to warn consumers."

Earlier this week a woman in Los Angeles was awarded $417 million.

Thompson says that win is beneficial to their case.

"More than $300 million of that was punitive damages. So they are really sticking it to Johnson & Johnson and hold them accountable for their wrongdoing.”

Davis says support from family and friends has kept her going, even though her mother is no longer here.

“My mom wanted to makes sure that justice was served. She just wanted to make sure that it was brought out and people were made aware. That they [Johnson & Johnson] were held accountable for their actions.”

Talcum powder is made of minerals like magnesium, silicon and oxygen. In its natural form, some of it can contain asbestos.

Out of 5,000 lawsuits across the country -- only 7 have gone to trial.

At this time, Davis and her attorney are not set to go to trial.

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