The jury convened to hear evidence in California’s latest trial of a talcum powder lawsuit has heard from the plaintiff, who vividly recounted her 2016 mesothelioma diagnosis.
According to Carolyn Weirick, 56, the diagnosis was so devastating, her doctors refused to deliver the news over the phone.
“You’re driving and it’s like you’re driving to your death sentence. It’s devastating,” she said in Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday.
“You say to yourself I have maybe two years. It’s hard. I’m terrified all the time of dying,” she continued.
Weirick, who alleges that the talc used to manufacture Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder was tainted with asbestos, testified that 3 doctors suggested her life-long use of talcum powder could have contributed to her disease.
“I had given this (disease) to myself. I didn’t know,” she said. “I would have used corn starch instead.”
Just prior to her testimony, jurors were able to view the videotaped deposition of Wierick’s 87-year-old mother, Leilani, who testified that she used Baby Powder on all of her babies at every diaper changing.
“Did you ever see the word asbestos on any of the containers of Johnson & Johnson you purchased?” the elder Weirick was asked.
“I don’t recall,” she said.
“Would you have used talcum powder containing asbestos on Carolyn if you knew it caused disease?”
“No,” she replied.
Johnson & Johnson is facing more than 10,000 talcum powder lawsuits filed on behalf of individuals who allegedly developed cancer due to their long-term use of the company’s talcum powder products.
The majority of these cases were filed on behalf of women who claim that the mere use of the company’s talc-based powders for feminine hygiene over an extended period of time is enough to cause ovarian cancer.
Numerous such cases have gone to trial since February 2015, with juries ruling for plaintiffs 6 times and awarding damages ranging from $55 million to $417 million. The company is currently appealing these verdicts and has so far managed to have three tossed.
In July, Missouri concluded the nation’s first cases involving allegations that asbestos in Johnson & Johnson talcum powders caused ovarian cancer, when 22 plaintiffs were awarded a total of $4.7 billion in compensatory and punitive damages.
In April, 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.
A month later, a California jury ordered Johnson & Johnson and its talcum suppliers to pay $27.1 million to a woman who allegedly developed mesothelioma due to asbestos in Baby Powder. The jury also awarded the plaintiff $4 million in punitive damages, after Johnson & Johnson acted with malice, oppression, or fraud.
Johnson & Johnson prevailed in another California mesothelioma trial last November. A third California case ended in mistrial after the plaintiff passed
Johnson & Johnson denies that its talc-based powders have any link to cancer or ever contained asbestos.