The makers of products for newborns and young children, Johnson & Johnson, were subject to suit for their talcum powder. It was alleged that lung cancer came about due to use of that powder. As a result, a New Jersey banker and his wife were awarded $37 million in compensation for damages sustained. More specifically, $30 million for him and $7 million for his wife. Johnson and Johnson assumed 70% of the liability for the illness. The supplier of the talc mineral is what was linked to the cross contamination with asbestos being mined. For that reason, they were hit with the other 30% of the liability. In addition, there are thousands of other cases tying its talc products to ovarian cancer.
The way the mesothelioma acted was by having inhalation of the baby powder dust by regular use since his 1972. The jury was a seven-woman jury, which had found that asbestos was concealed in their products, making the product deadly. This is despite the evidence that Johnson & Johnson has long tested its products for contamination and the other party argued that asbestos exposure could have come from somewhere else other than the talc. “The evidence was clear that his asbestos exposure came from a different source such as the asbestos found in his childhood home or schools,” a spokeswoman had said and they will most likely consider an appeal. Punitive damages are also yet to come, as the second phase of the trial is to begin next week. On Tuesday, the jurors will make the decision as to whether or not to award punitive damages. Johnson & Johnson said it was disappointed by the jury’s most recent decision. Johnson & Johnson still affirms that its products are not carcinogenic and never have or do not contain traces of asbestos fibers.
The legal requirements for consumer products have been to be asbestos-free since the era of the 1970s, so for the claim for talc products to not contain asbestos, a substance classified as cancer-causing was deceptive. JOHNSON’S Baby Powder products contain only U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) grade talc, which meets the highest quality, purity and compliance standards,” a statement on the company’s website reads. Over 6,600 talcum powder lawsuits have been filed against the company. A majority of those lawsuits were brought by female plaintiffs who were diagnosed with ovarian cancer following years of talc use. This verdict is the first trial loss for them in a lawsuit over claims that talc products contain cancer-causing asbestos. Juries have found them liable five times in ovarian cancer claims and Johnson & Johnson are working hard to overturn those decisions. It costs them business and a reputation to not to do do and opens the gates for more action to be taken by people. Asbestos-related lawsuits are the most recent problem for the consumer goods and pharmaceutical giant. The company’s lawyers also offered several alternative theories for the source of mesothelioma, including 60 feet of asbestos-wrapped pipe in the basement of his childhood home. The question becomes: for how many more people will they continue to do this? Regardless, the company plans to appeal the verdict and is confident that its talc did not cause cancer.
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