Molly English-Bowers Jan. 27, 2016, 1:02pm


EDWARDSVILLE – An Illinois man is suing Johnson & Johnson, alleging negligence caused his wife's death from ovarian cancer.

James Pernke, individually and as special administrator for the estate of his late wife Mary Anne Pernke, filed a lawsuit Jan. 21 in Madison County Circuit Court against Johnson & Johnson, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies Inc., Imerys Talc American Inc., Personal Care Products Council and Walgreen Co, alleging strict liability, negligence, breach of warranty, civil conspiracy and concert of action.

According to the complaint, on March 1, 2012, Mary Ann Perkne died after contracting ovarian cancer after she had been diagnosed Sept. 29, 2011. The suit alleges that Perkne's use of talc-based feminine hygiene products beginning in 1964 resulted in the cancer.

Despite numerous studies laying out the dangers to women of using talc-based products, the suit states, the defendants continued either including it in their products or selling it to the general public. Furthermore, they did not inform consumers the product was dangerous, the lawsuit states.

In 1993, the U.S. National Toxicology Program published a study laying out the connection between talc and carcinogenic activity, the suit says, and, in response to that study, the Cosmetic Toiletry and Fragrancy Association formed a task force of which defendants Johnson & Johnson and Imerys Talc were members. The suit says the purpose of that task force was to pool financial resources to collectively defend talc use at all costs and to prevent regulation of any type over the industry.

James Pernke seeks a trial by jury, $50,000 from each defendant for each count, punitive damages and other relief the court deems appropriate. He is represented by attorney Katie A. Hubbard of Goldenberg Heller Antognoli & Rowland PC in Edwardsville.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 16-L-85

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