Johnson & Johnson and its talc suppliers have been ordered to pay $27.1 million to a woman who claims asbestos-tainted Baby Powder caused her mesothelioma.
According to a talcum powder lawsuit filed last June in Los Angeles Superior Court, Joanne Anderson, 68, used Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder products on her children in the 1970s and on herself in the 1980s and 1990s, at one point going through two bottles per month. According to Reuters, her lawsuit alleged that asbestos and talc, which are closely linked minerals, are intermingled in the mining process, making it impossible to remove the cancer-causing substance. (Case No. BC 666513)
Johnson & Johnson denied that its talc ever contained asbestos and countered that Anderson’s mesothelioma could have occurred spontaneously, pointing to her family’s history of breast and lung cancer.
Jurors ultimately rejected that defense, finding Johnson & Johnson 67% liable for Anderson’s illness.
The lawsuit also named several talc suppliers as defendants, including Imerys SA, Cyprus Amax Minerals, and Honeywell International. However, it’s not clear how much of the remaining damages each of these companies will be assessed.
Jurors will now continue their deliberations to determine whether Johnson & Johnson and other defendants should be assessed punitive damages.
The case marks the second time since April Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay damages in a talcum powder mesothelioma lawsuit.
Last month, a jury in New Jersey’s Middlesex County Superior Court awarded $117 million in compensatory and punitive damages to a man who alleged that his life-long use of Baby Powder was the only possible explanation for his mesothelioma diagnosis. Johnson & Johnson was found 70% liable for the damages incurred by the Plaintiff and his wife, while Imery’s was found 30% responsible.
The nation’s first such trial concluded in November, after a California Superior Court jury found for the company.
Another talcum powder lawsuit is currently on trial in South Carolina’s Darlington County Court of Common Pleas. That case was filed on behalf of a now-deceased woman who claimed that she developed pericardial mesothelioma due to her life-long use of Baby Powder.
Another 6,600 talcum powder lawsuits filed in courts nationwide accuse Johnson & Johnson of concealing evidence linking its talc-based powders to ovarian cancer.
Plaintiffs pursing these cases claim that the company has been aware of numerous studies suggesting the regular and repeated application of talcum powder to the female genitals may contribute to the development of the often-deadly disease. The company allegedly failed to warn the pubic of this potential risk in order to protect sales derived from the Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower franchises.
Since February 2015, a half-dozen talcum powder ovarian cancer plaintiffs have been awarded multi-million-dollar judgments ranging from $55 million to $417 million, though two of those verdicts were later overturned.