A California jury recently heard closing arguments in an asbestos cancer lawsuit brought by a plaintiff who claims she developed mesothelioma as a result of years of exposure from carcinogens in talc-based products produced by Johnson & Johnson. The trial is one of the first of many the pharmaceutical and cosmetics giant will face this year by itself after codefendant and minerals supplier Imerys Talc USA was dismissed from many of the cases after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in federal court.
According to the asbestos lawsuit, filed in Oakland court, the plaintiff used Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder since the 1960s, never knowing it may have been contaminated with deadly asbestos fibers. The plaintiff’s lawyers pointed to Johnson & Johnson internal company documents which allegedly show that the company knew for decades about the presence of the carcinogenic mineral but placed no warnings on labels to inform consumers of the risks.
In its defense, Johnson & Johnson’s lawyers attempted to obfuscate blame by asserting the materials could not be reliable since they were decades old and the authors of those reports were not able to come and testify on the matter. Johnson and Johnson faces an estimated 13,000 other talcum powder asbestos cancer lawsuits in state and federal courts across the country brought by victims who claim they suffer from debilitating health conditions as a result of the company knowingly providing a dangerous product.