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Johnson & Johnson Hit With $29 Million Verdict In Mesothelioma Case
- Written by ibro

(CRN) March 26, 2019 A woman in California who says Johnson & Johnson baby powder caused her to develop mesothelioma was awarded $29 million by a jury Wednesday. J&J says it will appeal the judgment.

The plaintiff, Terry Leavitt, said she regularly used two J&J products in the 1960s and ’70s containing talc. In 2017, she was diagnosed with mesothelioma — a kind of cancer linked to asbestos exposure. 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. The jury, in the California Superior Court in Oakland, awarded Leavitt and her husband $29.4 million in damages.

J&J faces thousands of lawsuits alleging its talc-based products harmed consumers. 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. J&J denies that its talc powder contains asbestos or is responsible for health problems.

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J&J said it would appeal, pointing to “serious procedural and evidentiary errors,” Reuters reported. “The jury verdicts are not medical, scientific or regulatory conclusions about a product,” it said.

In December, documents came to light showing J&J worried for decades that its baby powder might be laced with small amounts of asbestos, which can occur naturally underground near talc. A company executive in the 1970s warned that J&J’s talc mines might not be free of asbestos. Some of its talc products sometimes contained materials that “might be classified as asbestos powder,” The New York Times reported, quoting an internal company memo.

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