Jury asked for mesothelioma warning on J&J talc products

25 May 2018 by under Legal

talcum powder warning 2 products 300x172 Jury asked for mesothelioma warning on J&J talc productsA California jury that awarded $21.7 million in compensatory damages to a woman whose claimed the talc in ’s products was contaminated with asbestos that caused her to develop the rare and aggressive form of cancer called mesothelioma, paused during deliberations on punitive damages to ask the court whether, in lieu of monetary damages, jurors could punish the company by requiring it to place warning labels on its talc-containing products.

The court said no. So the jury slapped an additional $4 million of punitive damages on their verdict, bringing the award to $25.7 million for Joanne and Gary Anderson. Joanne had sued Johnson & Johnson and other companies claiming she developed malignant mesothelioma from regularly using products like Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower body powder because they were contaminated with asbestos.

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs or other organs. It typically proves deadly within 12 to 24 months after diagnosis. Mesothelioma is caused by asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that can be found near talc deposits.

The Andersons’ lawsuit claimed that Johnson & Johnson knew for decades that the talc it used in its products was contaminated with asbestos. But the company refused to alert consumers about the risks, instead promoting its products as safe for even newborn babies.

The Anderson verdict comes a month after a New Jersey jury slapped Johnson & Johnson and its talc supplier, , with a $117 million verdict ($37 million in compensatory damages and $80 million in punitive damages) after finding the company was reckless by selling talcum powder that caused a man’s mesothelioma.

Some talcum powder product manufacturers and distributors already have started adding warnings to their products’ labels, in relation to claims talc used for feminine hygiene causes ovarian cancer. In August 2017, jurors in Los Angeles who returned a $417 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson in a talc-ovarian cancer case were the first to hear evidence that other body powder sellers now feature a warning on their labels. Among the first were Angel of Mine Baby Powder, which is available at Dollar Tree stores, and Spring Fresh Powder, which is available at Walmart.

It will be interesting to see if these manufacturers add a warning about mesothelioma to their products as well, in light of the recent verdicts.

Sources:
Law360
Beasley Allen

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