Jury awards $29M in J&J baby powder cancer case

Daniel Fowler
March 16, 2019

A jury in Missouri past year awarded US$4.69 million to 22 women.

The world's largest health care company, facing more than 13,000 talcum-related lawsuits nationwide, said it would appeal the verdict.

The California Superior Court in Oakland agreed that the company's baby powder was a "substantial contributing factor" to her mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive cancer caused by the inhalation of asbestos. It was the first of more than a dozen talc cases against the company scheduled for trial in 2019.

In its latest trial-court loss, a jury in California on Wednesday ordered J&J to pay $29 million to a woman who claimed her routine use of J&J's talc caused her mesothelioma, according to reports.

The New Jersey-based company denies that its talc causes cancer, saying numerous studies and tests by regulators worldwide have shown that it is safe and asbestos-free.

"Plaintiffs' attorneys have fundamentally failed to show that Johnson's Baby Powder contains asbestos, and their own experts concede that they are not recognizing the accepted definition of asbestos and are ignoring crucial distinctions between minerals that are asbestos and minerals that are not".

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In a statement, the company said it was disappointed in the verdict, and planned to appeal "because Johnson's Baby Powder does not contain asbestos or cause cancer". "The jury verdicts are not medical, scientific or regulatory conclusions about a product", it said. 'The internal J&J documents that the jury saw, once more laid bare the shocking truth of decades of cover- up, deception and concealment by J&J'.

'Yet another jury has rejected J&J´s misleading claims that its talc was free of asbestos, ' said Moshe Maimon, a lawyer for Leavitt, in a statement on Wednesday.

The company cited "serious procedural and evidentiary errors" and said it has already moved for a mistrial on eight points.

In December, Reuters published an in-depth investigation that showed Johnson & Johnson knew its baby powder occasionally tested positive for small amounts of asbestos and covered up the findings. Cypress Mines, one of J&J's former talc suppliers, is answerable for the remaining 2 percent.

A court in the USA state of California ordered Johnson & Johnson to compensate a woman to the tune of $29 million for cancer complications she developed from using the company's talcum powder, according to media reports. It found no asbestos in any of them.

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