Johnson & Johnson Hit With $29 Million Verdict in Case Over Talc and Asbestos

Johnson & Johnson’s shares dipped on Thursday after a jury in California ordered the corporate to pay greater than $29 million to a girl who claimed that asbestos in its talc-based powder merchandise had triggered her most cancers.

In rendering its verdict in Alameda County Superior Court docket on Wednesday, the jury discovered that Johnson & Johnson knew concerning the potential dangers that its child powder was contaminated, however didn’t warn the lady, Teresa Leavitt.

Ms. Leavitt, a resident of San Leandro, obtained a analysis of mesothelioma, a most cancers of the liner of inside organs that’s related to asbestos, in August 2017. Her lawyer, Joseph D. Satterley, mentioned she had used Johnson & Johnson talc merchandise for greater than 30 years.

The jury awarded Ms. Leavitt $22 million for her ache and struggling, $5 million to compensate her relations, almost $1.three million for her medical prices and $1.2 million for her misplaced wages, Mr. Satterley mentioned.

Johnson & Johnson mentioned in an announcement that it was upset with the decision, citing “severe procedural and evidentiary errors within the continuing,” and that it deliberate to attraction. As in previous circumstances, which the corporate has fought with blended success, it mentioned a long time of testing confirmed that its child powder didn’t include asbestos or trigger most cancers. Its shares fell 1 p.c in buying and selling on Thursday.

Greater than 13,000 plaintiffs have sued Johnson & Johnson over what they are saying are cancers attributable to its talc merchandise. The New York Occasions reported final yr that the corporate had spent a long time attempting to maintain detrimental details about the potential threat of asbestos contamination from reaching the general public.

Ms. Leavitt’s criticism claims that Johnson & Johnson has, for the reason that early 1900s, “possessed medical and scientific knowledge that raised considerations relating to the presence of asbestos in talcum powder and that demonstrated the existence of well being hazards to these uncovered to asbestos-containing talcum powder merchandise.”

Johnson & Johnson mentioned in a regulatory submitting final month that it had obtained subpoenas from the Justice Division and the Securities and Alternate Fee for extra particulars about its talc merchandise.

In July, a jury in Missouri awarded $four.69 billion to 22 ladies who claimed that asbestos in Johnson & Johnson merchandise, together with its signature child powder, triggered them to develop ovarian most cancers. In December, the corporate misplaced a movement to reverse the decision. The corporate’s attraction is pending.

Talc is utilized in greater than 2,000 merchandise, together with many magnificence and personal-care merchandise, in line with authorities knowledge. The Meals and Drug Administration warned this month that it had discovered asbestos in cosmetics offered by Claire’s, a retailer geared towards youngsters. The corporate mentioned it had stopped promoting all talc-based merchandise, together with these cited by the company, and deliberate to destroy its present stock. It additionally mentioned it had stopped making talc-based cosmetics final yr.

On Tuesday, the Home Subcommittee on Financial and Shopper Coverage heard testimony about potential asbestos contamination of talc-based private care merchandise. An epidemiologist from the Fred Hutchinson Most cancers Analysis Heart in Seattle testified that talcum powder considerably will increase the chance of most cancers.

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