March 14, 2019 — Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay a $29.5 million to a woman with mesothelioma who used baby powder and other talc products that were contaminated with asbestos.
After 2 days of deliberation, J&J was found 78% responsible for causing Teresa E. Leavitt to develop mesothelioma. The company’s former talc supplier was also found 20% liable for her cancer.
The jury unanimously decided that Leavitt’s use of baby powder was a substantial factor in her development of mesothelioma. Furthermore, the jury unanimously agreed that J&J failed to warn her about the health risks.
Earlier during the trial, lawyers for Leavitt presented evidence that J&J was aware of asbestos contamination in the mines that supplied talcum powder for baby powder and other J&J talc products.
Lawyers for Leavitt told the jury that J&J could have easily switched to a safer product like cornstarch, or warned her about the risk. Instead, Leavitt now has to suffer a “horrible asbestos disease that will result in her untimely death, a slow and painful death.”
Lawyers for J&J failed to convince the jury that Leavitt’s attorneys “can’t show you any science that Johnson’s Baby Powder causes cancer in anyone.”
In addition to mesothelioma lawsuits, J&J is also currently facing hundreds of lawsuits from women with ovarian cancer who used baby powder.
The last case to reach a verdict in St. Louis, Missouri, ended with a $4.69 billion jury award to 22 women with ovarian cancer.
The lawsuit is In RE: Leavitt v. Johnson & Johnson — Case No. RG17882401 in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Alameda.
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