Johnson & Johnson has agreed to settle a talcum powder lawsuit alleging asbestos-tainted Baby Powder was responsible for a woman’s cancer.
Jurors in Alameda Superior Court had already heard two weeks of testimony, when Judge Stephen Kaus announced the deal yesterday. While the terms of the talcum powder settlement remain confidential, sources told Bloomberg News that Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay Linda O’Hagan more than $2 million.
O’Hagan, now 61, was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a deadly cancer linked to asbestos exposure, in 2018. Despite treatment, her doctors believe she has less than two years to live.
“In litigation of every nature there are one-off situations where settlement is a reasonable alternative,” a Johnson & Johnson spokesperson wrote in an emailed statement to Bloomberg. “The decision to resolve any particular case in no way changes our overall position that our talc is safe, is asbestos free and does not cause cancer.”
Johnson & Johnson is defending more than 17,000 talcum powder lawsuits nationwide that blame Baby Powder and other talc-based powders for causing mesothelioma or ovarian cancer. Over the past year, juries around the country have delivered eight defense verdicts and five for plaintiffs.
Just last month, a jury in St. Louis Missouri found for the company in a talcum powder lawsuit involving ovarian cancer. In August 2018, another jury in the same jurisdiction ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $4.7 million to 20 ovarian cancer victims or their surviving family members.
While the company has vigorously defended most claims, O’Hagan’s lawsuit wasn’t Johnson & Johnson’s first talcum powder settlement. In fact, the company agreed to resolve three cases last March, including an Oklahoma lawsuit already in jury deliberations, another in Los Angeles on the second day of trial, and a third in New York City that was scheduled to go before a jury the following month.
In December 2018, Johnson & Johnson settled another New York City mesothelioma lawsuit for a reported $1.5 million.
The company’s latest talcum powder settlement came the same day a judge in California’s Solano County dismissed another cancer lawsuit after finding that the plaintiff had failed to provide evidence showing the talc she used was actually tainted with asbestos.