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$25.75 Million Verdict Against Johnson & Johnson in Talc-Asbestos Case

A California jury has delivered a verdict against consumer products giant Johnson & Johnson and other companies to the tune of $25.75 million. The case, brought by a couple who said the wife developed mesothelioma after using J&J Baby Powder, is one of thousands filed by women who say the same product caused them to develop everything from lung to ovarian cancer.

In this case, the Oregon woman, who said she was an avid bowler and used the powder in her shoes and on her hands for years, developed pleural mesothelioma—a debilitating cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs. She also claimed that she used J&J Baby Powder on her children when they were young to prevent diaper rash. Experts in the case estimated that the plaintiff used the baby powder more than 10,000 times throughout her life.

Talc and asbestos are “often mined near each other,” reports CNN, so contamination can and has occurred. The jury found that J&J was negligent and did not warn consumers about the possible health risks from its talc-containing baby powder. The company also offers a version made with cornstarch—something many baby and body powder products are now made with.

The jury returned a $21.75 million compensatory damage amount on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, reports CNN. After deliberating on punitive damages, the jury came back with an additional $4 million, for a total $25.75 million judgment.

The jury said, “J&J was liable for two-thirds of the compensatory amount and 100% of the punitive amount.” Lawyers for the plaintiff’s said that Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder "has contained asbestos for decades. People need to know about this."

Because the plaintiff was also exposed to asbestos when she watched her husband work on his car, several other companies were named in the lawsuit including Honeywell/Bendix, Borg Warner, and Fel-Pro. All are on the hook for the rest of the damages.

When it comes to whether or not consumers should stop using talc-containing products such as J&J Baby Powder, the American Cancer Society warns that until more information is available, people concerned about using talcum powder may want to avoid or limit their use of consumer products that contain it.

If you have been exposed to asbestos, see your doctor right away. Although there is no cure for mesothelioma, early detection could lead to better treatment options and outcomes.

 

Sources

Christensen, Jen. “Johnson & Johnson hit with $25.75 million verdict in talc-asbestos case.” CNN, Turner Broadcasting Systems, Inc., 24 May 2018. Web. 12 June 2018.

“Talcum Powder and Cancer.” American Cancer Society, American Cancer Society, Inc., 13 Nov. 2017. Web. 12 June 2018.