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California jury awards $29M in baby powder cancer case

16 March 2019

Also previous year, a Missouri jury awarded $4.69 billion to 22 women who all said they got cancer after using the baby powder.

J&J faces thousands of lawsuits alleging its talc-based products harmed consumers.

A Superior Court jury in Oakland found the world's largest health care company mainly liable for Teresa Leavitt's mesothelioma.

A jury in California has ruled that Johnson & Johnson must pay $29 million to a woman who claimed its baby powder gave her terminal cancer.

"We respect the legal process and reiterate that jury verdicts are not medical, scientific or regulatory conclusions about a product", J&J said in a statement on Wednesday, adding that lawyers for the woman had fundamentally failed to show its baby powder contained asbestos. Leavitt said she often used two talcum-powder-based Johnson & Johnson products - Baby Powder and Shower to Shower powder - in the 1960s and 1970s, and claims they contributed to her 2017 cancer diagnosis, according to Reuters.

"We will pursue an appeal because Johnson's Baby Powder does not contain asbestos or cause cancer".

The company has insisted that its talc-based products are demonstrably safe but it has lost a string of court cases.

J&J attorneys asserted in court that there's no conclusive evidence talc caused Leavitt's mesothelioma. "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".

The company cited "serious procedural and evidentiary errors" and said it has already moved for a mistrial on eight points. Cypress Mines, one of J&J's former talc suppliers, is answerable for the remaining 2 percent.

In December, documents came to light showing J&J anxious for decades that its baby powder might be laced with small amounts of asbestos, which can occur naturally underground near talc. The company is now embroiled in roughly 13,000 lawsuits brought by people who claim the company's products caused or contributed to serious health issues, the AP reports.

Leavitt's was the first talc case to go to trial since Reuters on December 14 published a report detailing that J&J knew that the talc in its raw and finished powders sometimes tested positive for small amounts of asbestos from the 1970s into the early 2000s - test results it did not disclose to regulators or consumers. Before that, in 2016, the company was ordered to pay $55 million to a woman who claimed she got cancer from its talcum powder.

California jury awards $29M in baby powder cancer case