March 19th, 2019
California Jury Finds Talc Caused Woman’s Mesothelioma
Johnson & Johnson suffered another blow to its claims that its talcum powder products are safe this week, when a jury in the Oakland California Superior Court determined that asbestos-contaminated Baby Powder was a “substantial contributing factor” to Terry Leavitt’s mesothelioma and delivered a $29.4 million damages verdict
in her favor. Mesothelioma is an aggressive, terminal cancer of the internal organs, and the jury’s verdict this weak is the latest in a string of high-profile jury determinations that J&J’s talcum powder products are hazardous to human health.
Investigations from the New York Times and Reuters uncovered evidence suggesting that, for decades, J&J, knew that some of its talcum powder products could be tainted by asbestos, a carcinogenic mineral that the National Cancer Institute has linked to lung, laryngeal and ovarian cancer, as well as mesothelioma. In 2018, a jury delivered a $4+ billion damages verdict to a group of women who claimed that asbestos in J&J’s talc products caused their ovarian cancers. In 2016, the company was ordered to pay $55 million to a woman who claimed she got ovarian cancer from J&J’s talcum powder.
As with these other high-profile verdicts rendered against it, Johnson & Johnson tells TIME magazine that it plans to appeal and continues to maintain that its Baby Powder does not contain asbestos or cause cancer. But that position becomes increasingly harder to credibly defend with verdict after verdict being delivered for cancer victims. While J&J argues that a jury verdict is not a scientific determination on whether talcum powder causes cancer, these verdicts are not being rendered upon junk science, because U.S. courts are all charged with a gatekeeping function to screen the science behind such claims and prohibit any poorly conducted studies or methods from being introduced into evidence. One of the driving factors behind these favorable plaintiffs’ verdicts is J&J’s internal documents that demonstrate decades of knowledge and concealment by J&J about the hazards of its talcum powder products.
The battle over whether talc causes cancer will continue into 2019 as more and more cases will certainly be presented for jury determination. If you believe that you may have contracted cancer from talcum powder products, you should contact an experienced attorney right away to explore your rights.