Friday, 24 May, 2019

Woman with cancer who sued J&J awarded $29M by California jury

California jury orders J&J to pay US$29 million in latest talc cancer trial Woman awarded $29m in damages in Johnson & Johnson cancer case
Russell Knight | 16 March, 2019, 08:48

The verdict said that the baby powder was a "substantial contributing factor" in her illness.

"Studies of more than 100,000 men and women show that talc does not cause cancer or asbestos-related disease".

J&J has refused to put a warning on its recognizable white bottles bearing the powder, even though a separate California jury past year asked a judge to order the company to do so. "Plaintiffs' attorneys have fundamentally failed to show that Johnson's Baby Powder contains asbestos, and their own experts concede that they are not recognizing the accepted definition of asbestos and are ignoring crucial distinctions between minerals that are asbestos and minerals that are not". This suit is the first to go to trial since December articles by Reuters and The New York Times alleged the company feared for years that its baby powder might contain asbestos. The company is now embroiled in roughly 13,000 lawsuits brought by people who claim the company's products caused or contributed to serious health issues, the AP reports. It has more than two dozen trials scheduled around the United States this year. The nine-week trial began on January 7 and included testimony from almost a dozen experts on both sides.

Asbestos is a term for a group of minerals often found near talc, which is widely used in cosmetics. But if it is tainted with asbestos, that's the danger.

About 8 out of 10 people with mesothelioma have been exposed to asbestos.

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They can cause inflammation, scarring, damage cells' DNA, cause changes that result in uncontrolled cell growth.

Ovarian cancer is the other cancer type at the heart of the J&J cases. But she added that she didn't think Leavitt's lawyers proved that her cancer was the result of exposure to talc. After two days of deliberation, the jury found that J&J talc-based products were defective and caused Leavitt's mesothelioma, and that the company had failed to warn consumers about the risks.

Even though Leavitt stopped using baby powder two decades ago, recent tests of her lung tissue showed evidence of asbestos, an expert witness testifying for the plaintiff told jurors at one point in the trial.

The jury awarded Leavitt $22 million for her pain and suffering, $5 million to compensate her family members, almost $1.3 million for her medical costs and $1.2 million for her lost wages, according to her lawyer. The company said then it would comply and produce documents over the asbestos claims. "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".

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