An Oakland, California jury recently handed down a substantial $29 million verdict in favor of a female plaintiff who claims she developed a serious form of cancer from carcinogens in talc-based products produced by the defendant, Johnson & Johnson. The plaintiff's verdict is the latest defeat for the pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant, which is still reeling from several other awards handed down by juries last year totaling more than $5 billion in compensatory and punitive damages.
According to the asbestos cancer lawsuit, filed in Alameda County Superior Court, the plaintiff developed mesothelioma as a result of years of exposure to asbestos in Johnson & Johnson's Baby Powder, which is made with talc sourced by Italy-based Imerys Talc USA. The talc supplier avoided any liability in the matter due to a recent Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing which Imerys claims is the result of the weight of talcum powder cancer lawsuits filed against it.
Although talc does not contain asbestos itself, the two are both naturally occurring minerals found in deposits side by side one another. If talc suppliers and manufacturers do not take reasonable precautions to separate talc from asbestos and conduct necessary testing, innocent consumers may be exposed to life threatening carcinogens.
With Imerys Talc being tentatively excused from all current talcum powder cancer trials, Johnson & Johnson now faces an estimated 12,700 talc cancer lawsuits as the sole defendant, leaving it potentially liable for billions in total damages. Making matters worse for Johnson & Johnson, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Department of Justice are both investigating the company over allegations that internal company documents show executives knew for decades about the risk of asbestos exposure but did nothing to warn the public.
The revelations over Johnson & Johnson's internal communications come after an investigation by Reuters, which analyzed thousands of pages of documents going back decades that seem to show the company knew about its talc testing positive for asbestos. As expected, Johnson & Johnson has denied all the allegations made in the Reuters article and has appealed jury verdicts against it, claiming the science applied to testing its talc-based products is not valid.
In July 2018, a Missouri state jury in St. Louis handed down a massive $4.7 billion verdict on behalf of 22 women and their families who claim they developed various forms of cancer as a result of using Johnson & Johnson's talcum powder products like Baby Powder and Shower to Shower. In all of 2018, juries across the country handed down a combined total of over $5 billion in compensation to victims and their families. Johnson & Johnson faces even more scheduled trials in 2019, but does not appear poised to resolve the matters en masse.
Arizona Mesothelioma Lawyer
If you or a loved one was diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced Arizona mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.