A California judge has declared a mistrial in a case involving the alleged link between Johnson & Johnson talcum powders and mesothelioma, a deadly form of cancer linked to asbestos exposure.
The 12-member Los Angeles Superior Court jury convened for the trial had been deliberating since September 19th. However, jurors informed the Court late yesterday afternoon that they had been unable to reach agreement and that further deliberations were hopeless.
According to her talcum powder lawsuit, Carolyn Weirick was exposed Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower products throughout most of her life, beginning in infancy. She alleges that the talc used to manufacture the products was tainted with asbestos and accused Johnson & Johnson of withholding that information from the public for decades. (Case No. Case BC656425)
She had been seeking $29 million in damages from the healthcare products giant.
Weirick’s complaint also named Imery’s Talc America – Johnson & Johnson’s talc supplier – as a defendant. However, the company agreed to settle those claims just before the testimony began in the case.
The case was the 6th Johnson & Johnson talcum powder lawsuit involving mesothelioma to go before a jury in the United States and the third to end in a mistrial.
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.
The following month, a California jury ordered Johnson & Johnson and its talc suppliers to pay $27.1 million to a woman who allegedly developed mesothelioma because of asbestos-tainted Baby Powder. The jury later added $4 million in punitive damages to that award, after finding that Johnson & Johnson acted with malice, oppression, or fraud.
One California jury did rule in favor of Johnson & Johnson last November. In May, mistrial was declared in another California case after the plaintiff passed away.
South Carolina was scheduled to begin its second talcum powder mesothelioma trial earlier this month, but the lawsuit was settled just before jury selection was to commence. The state’s only other talcum powder trial ended in a mistrial earlier this year.
Two other talcum powder mesothelioma lawsuits are currently at trial, including another in Los Angeles and a second in Johnson & Johnson’s home state of New Jersey.
Johnson & Johnson is also named a defendant in thousands of talcum powder lawsuits filed on behalf of women who allegedly developed ovarian cancer merely due to their long-term use Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower for feminine hygiene purposes.
Several talcum powder ovarian cancer claims have already been tried, with juries ruling for plaintiffs 6 times and awarding damages ranging from $55 million to $417 million. Johnson & Johnson is currently appealing these verdicts and has so far managed to have three tossed.
The company is also facing a growing number of ovarian cancer claims that do put forth asbestos allegations.
In July, a Missouri jury convened for the nation’s first such trial agreed that Johnson & Johnson was negligent in failing to warn the public that its talc-based powders might contain asbestos and ordered the pay $4.7 billion to 22 ovarian cancer victims or their surviving loved ones.