J&J found liable for California woman's talc-linked cancer

Johnson and Johnson lawsuit payout

Two previous cases have led to victories against the conglomerate, including a July 2018 multi-plaintiff ovarian cancer case that awarded $4.69 billion in damages to the victims.

That hasn't stopped people around the country from filing lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson.

A Superior Court jury in Oakland, California on Thursday (NZ time) found the world's largest health care company mainly liable for Teresa Leavitt's mesothelioma. The jury decided against awarding punitive damages, which are created to punish the defendants - in this case Johnson & Johnson and the other companies involved in making the talcum powder - for reckless or negligent behavior.

A California jury has awarded $29m to a woman who said asbestos in Johnson & Johnson's talcum-powder-based products caused her cancer. Plaintiffs' attorneys have fundamentally failed to show that Johnson's Baby Powder contains asbestos, and their own experts concede that they are not recognizing the accepted definition of asbestos and are ignoring crucial distinctions between minerals that are asbestos and minerals that are not.

The woman, Terry Leavitt, told the jury that she used the baby powder and another, now discontinued product with talc, Shower to Shower, throughout the 60s and 70s, according to Reuters.

"We respect the legal process and reiterate that jury verdicts are not medical, scientific or regulatory conclusions about a product", she added. Decades of tests by independent, non-litigation driven experts and institutions repeatedly confirm that Johnson's Baby Powder does not contain asbestos or cause cancer.

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"Hundreds of internal J&J documents showed the truth that it has been hiding for years". The company has successfully persuaded courts to overturn previous jury verdicts.

There were serious procedural and evidentiary errors in the proceeding that required us to move for mistrial on eight different points during the proceeding.

"Yet another jury has rejected J&J's misleading claims that its talc was free of asbestos", said Moshe Maimon, a lawyer for Leavitt, in a statement on Wednesday.

Amid the scrutiny, Reuters late a year ago published a report alleging that J&J knew about asbestos in its talc for decades.

The US Food and Drug Administration had commissioned a study of a variety of talc samples, including Johnson & Johnson's, from 2009 to 2010. When asbestos fibers are breathed in, they travel to the ends of small air passages and reach the membranes of the thorax and lunges.

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