Published: Sat, March 16, 2019
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

Johnson & Johnson must pay cancer-stricken woman $29mn in latest talcum trial

Johnson & Johnson must pay cancer-stricken woman $29mn in latest talcum trial

We are disappointed with today's verdict and will pursue an appeal because Johnson's Baby Powder does not contain asbestos or cause cancer.

A jury in Missouri previous year awarded US$4.69 million to 22 women.

The lawsuit is just one of thousands of similar lawsuits Johnson & Johnson is facing.

The verdict, in California Superior Court in Oakland, marks the latest defeat for the healthcare conglomerate, which faces more than 13,000 talc-related lawsuits nationwide. The jury decided against awarding punitive damages, which are created to punish the defendants - in this case Johnson & Johnson and the other companies involved in making the talcum powder - for reckless or negligent behavior.

A jury in California has ruled that Johnson & Johnson must pay $29 million to a woman who claimed its baby powder gave her terminal cancer.

The jury found Johnson & Johnson had failed to warn consumers of the health risks of its defective products and awarded $29.4 million in damages to Terry Leavitt and her husband. Leavitt said she often used two talcum-powder-based Johnson & Johnson products - Baby Powder and Shower to Shower powder - in the 1960s and 1970s, and claims they contributed to her 2017 cancer diagnosis, according to Reuters.

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"Further, there have also been several trials where juries have concluded that Johnson & Johnson's product was not responsible for the plaintiffs' cancer, and in other instances, judges have dismissed cases outright, based on their own review of the facts", the company says.

A few weeks ago, sources told Reuters that India's CDCSO had failed to find traces of asbestos in J&J's talcum powder. "We respect the legal process and reiterate that jury verdicts are not medical, scientific or regulatory conclusions about a product", the company said. 'The internal J&J documents that the jury saw, once more laid bare the shocking truth of decades of cover- up, deception and concealment by J&J'.

Johnson & Johnson said in a statement provided to TIME that it plans to appeal the decision, citing "serious procedural and evidentiary errors". The company has successfully persuaded courts to overturn previous jury verdicts.

In December, Reuters published an in-depth investigation that showed Johnson & Johnson knew its baby powder occasionally tested positive for small amounts of asbestos and covered up the findings.

In December, the New York Times reported that for years, Johnson & Johnson executives anxious that their talc-based products would one day be linked to asbestos.

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