Johnson & Johnson chalks up another talc loss with $29M mesothelioma verdict

16 March, 2019, 08:45 | Author: Eric Barnett
  • California jury orders J&J to pay US$29 million in latest talc cancer trial

The Oakland jury of five men and seven women ordered J&J to pay $29 million in actual damages for Leavitt's injuries after finding that J&J's handling of the asbestos-laced baby powder was a "substantial contributing factor" in her cancer's development.

Johnson & Johnson is facing over 13,000 more cases stemming from asbestos-contaminated talcum powder.

A United States jury on Wednesday ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $29 million (Rs 202 crore) to a woman diagnosed with cancer, who alleged that the asbestos in the firm's talcum-powder-based products caused her disease, Reuters reported. Her mesothelioma was detected in 2017.

It was the seventh loss in a string of lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson in connection to talc claims.

J&J has appealed all of the plaintiff verdicts, and the company said it is confident the verdicts would be overturned on appeal.

"We are disappointed with today's verdict and will pursue an appeal because Johnson's Baby Powder does not contain asbestos or cause cancer", Kim Montagnino, a J&J spokesperson, told Bloomberg.

Her lawyers noted that internal J&J documents indicated officials knew since the 1970s baby powder mined in places such as Vermont and Italy contained trace amounts of asbestos, but failed to alert consumers or regulators.


In 11 cases so far that alleged asbestos contamination in talc, three have resulted in wins for plaintiffs, awarding damages as high as US$4.69 billion in a July 2018 multi-plaintiff ovarian cancer verdict.

A unit of J&J also recently invested in a public gene-therapy firm.

Still, a corporate website has its own agenda, and juries didn't believe Johnson & Johnson's science in multiple verdicts across the country.

The history of talc and asbestos cases against Johnson & Johnson is mixed. Asbestos is often found intertwined with talc.

The shares of healthcare major Johnson and Johnson fell almost 2 percent on Thursday's premarket trading after the company was ordered to pay $29 million to a woman whose cancer was attributed to the asbestos contained in the company's talcum-powder products. Among the recent verdicts include Los Angeles jury's award of $21.7 million to a woman who accused the company of causing cancer to her with its powder products. It found no asbestos in any of them. Johnson & Johnson has repeatedly pointed to studies that have not shown such a link.

J&J has already faced defeats in a number of cases.

Mesothelioma is a bad form of cancer (as if any form of cancer isn't terrible) and Johnson & Johnson will have to do a much better job of convincing juries that their products don't cause cancer.

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