Juries Have Found Johnson's Baby Powder Causes Mesothelioma
If Johnson & Johnson wins half of the cases against them they will still lose more than 6000 times
Thursday, September 5, 2019 - Johnson & Johnson continues the fight against plaintiffs that claim that Johnson's Baby Powder caused their cancer. Over 12,000 cases are pending that claim Johnson's Baby Powder itself caused their ovarian cancer or mesothelioma. Recently a Kentucky jury decided after only two hours of deliberation in favor of Johnson & Johnson, rejecting the plaintiff's claim that asbestos in Johnson's Baby Powder caused her mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer of the lining of the lungs. Others plaintiffs have been successful in their mesothelioma lawsuits against JNJ claiming to find asbestos in Johnson's Baby Powder.
In June of 2019, Johnson & Johnson was forced to pay $325 million in compensatory and punitive damages to Donna Olsen for causing her mesothelioma. The case was tried in New York and the plaintiff's expert witnesses were able to show that Johnson's Baby Powder samples tested contained asbestos, a known carcinogen linked to mesothelioma. The Olsen case was the third baby powder Mesothelioma case decided against the company.
In the first trial held In 2018, a New Jersey jury awarded 46-year-old New Jersey banker Stephen Lanzo $30 million for the mesothelioma he claimed was caused by breathing Johnson's Baby Powder talc dust from using the product regularly throughout his lifetime. The case also allocated 30% of the blame to Imreys, J & J's talc supplier. Imreys has since filed for bankruptcy protection. The jury awarded Lanzo an additional $87 million in punitive damages bringing the total to jury award to $117 million.
The second trial that was decided against Johnson & Johnson was in favor of Joanne Anderson who developed mesothelioma from using Johnson's Baby Powder to diaper her infants and also when used to absorb moisture on her bowling balls. Anderson was awarded a total of $25 million in compensatory and punitive damages. Talcum powder cancer lawsuits continue to go to court for Ovarian Cancer and Mesothelioma claims in which top national attorneys represent American families and offer a no obligation free consultation before filing a claim.
Proving the presence of asbestos in Johnsons' Baby Powder is more challenging than proving talcum powder itself causes ovarian cancer. Earlier this year a jury in California awarded Terry Leavitt $29 million for her ovarian cancer. The woman was one of the first to call expert witnesses that testified to have found cancer-causing asbestos in samples of the Johnson's Baby Powder the plaintiff used for feminine hygiene purposes. Lawyers for the plaintiff said afterward, "Yet another jury has rejected J&J's misleading claims that its talc was free of asbestos," said Moshe Maimon, a lawyer for Leavitt, in a statement on Wednesday. "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," according to Reuters,
In July 2018 22 women suing Johnson & Johnson were awarded a combined $4.69 billion, primarily in punitive damages for their ovarian cancers. A judge in New Jersey is currently deliberating on the testimonies of expert witnesses from both sides to see if thousands of claims against Johnson & Johnson can be consolidated into multidistrict litigation (MDL) because of the similarities in the plaintiff's complaints. MDL is not a class action as trials consolidated into smaller groups with similar claims.
The Middlesex County jury awarded $30 million to Stephen Lanzo, 46, and $7 million to his wife Kendra, allocating 70 percent of the liability for his illness to J&J and 30 percent to their talc supplier, Imerys. A second phase of the trial to determine punitive damages will begin on Tuesday, April 10.
The Momentum May Be Switching And Favoring Johnson's Baby Powder Safety
Johnson & Johnson has successfully defended the safety of its iconic brand of cosmetics, Johnson's Baby Powder, for the sixth time in the previous 12 months.
A Kentucky jury ruled last week in favor of the company and against a woman that claimed Johnson's Baby Powder caused her mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer of the lining of the lungs and a signature disease of inhaling asbestos fibers. The win was another in a recent string of victories for the company and bolstered the defense's confidence in defending allegations in the future, of which there are around 14,000 pending cases. According to CNBC.com, Johnson & Johnson issued a statement in part reading "decades of clinical evidence and scientific studies by medical experts around the world that support the safety of Johnson's Baby Powder."
Of the 14,000 cases against them, approximately 11,000 of them pertain to women who allege that talc, the primary ingredient in the Johnson's Baby Powder consists of crystalline fibers which are similar to asbestos and to which experts have testified can cause cancer. One such expert, Dr. Daniel Clarke-Pearson, a Gynecologic Oncologist and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill is giving testimony this week before U.S. District Judge Freda Wolfson in Trenton, New Jersey, citing studies that found particles of talc can travel through the vagina and into the ovaries and cause sufficient irritation that leads to cancer when the product is used regularly and for a number of years by women for the purpose of feminine hygiene.
A study called the African American Cancer Epidemiology Study (AACES) published in 2016, lit the fuse that eventually resulted in the explosion of cases where plaintiffs allege Johnson's Baby Powder causes ovarian cancer. The study "compared 584 African American women who had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer" and found that "the women who reported using talc in the genital area, whether or not they used it anywhere else, were about 44% more likely to have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer." according to the Center4Research.org. Interestingly the Center reports that the study's main author "believes that this study was important because African American women are more likely to have used powder, making it easier to determine a strong link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer." And why are African American women more likely to use Johnson's Baby Powder? Lawyers for plaintiffs have cited internal Johnson & Johnson memos that point to the company becoming aware of the cancer risks posed by talc some 50 years ago and instead of placing a warning label on bottles of the product, deliberately redirected the company's marketing focus to target African American women, a demographic they felt were less well-informed.
In addition to the jury finding in favor of Johnson & Johnson, a $417 million jury award against them was thrown out of court and a new trial ordered in the case of Eva Echeverria, one of first to file a lawsuit claiming Johnson's Baby Powder causes cancer. Before the defense pops the cork on a bottle of celebratory champagne, however, the company will have to deal with the findings of a criminal investigation launched against the company by the US Department of Justice as to whether Johnson & Johnson lied to conceal the cancer risks of Johnson's Baby Powder.