An update on talcum-powder cases

The legal fight against Johnson & Johnson and other companies who have allegedly exposed people to asbestos-laden talc or talc-based products such as baby powder continues to make headway.

In this post, we’ll review some of the recent developments.

Recent victories

In early April, a state court jury in New Jersey awarded $37 million in damages to a man whose cancer was caused by using talcum powder made by Johnson & Johnson for an extended period.

As we noted in our April 5 post, the jury also awarded $80 million in punitive damages.

Also in April, we wrote about a case in Florida in which a producer of ceramic products containing talc settled a case with a former tile worker. The worker contended he developed mesothelioma due to the talc exposure.

Suit against both Johnson & Johnson and Rite-Aid

Recently in South Carolina, a jury was unable to reach a verdict in a case brought against Johnson & Johnson (perhaps best well-known for its baby products line featuring shampoo, lotion and powder). This case was somewhat unique in that it not only included as defendants J&J and the supplier of talc to J&J, but also Rite-Aid, a popular drug store chain that distributes J & J products.

The South Carolina case involves the death of a 30-year-old woman from mesothelioma. Her survivors argued that the talcum powder she used consistently from birth and into adulthood contained asbestos, and that her daily, repeated exposure to it led to her developing mesothelioma. The talc supplier settled with the plaintiffs before the case went to the jury for deliberation.

Holding J & J accountable

Companies continue to deny that their talc-based products contain asbestos. They claim that independent scientific analysis can show no asbestos is present.

Despite these corporate claims, some juries – after hearing all the evidence presented by both sides including evidence that asbestos has been found in samples of J&J baby powder – have rendered verdicts for plaintiffs. This includes a verdict from a California case in 2017 for $417 million. Legally, cosmetic talc is not supposed to contain asbestos, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that manufacturers follow those regulations. We’ve discussed in previous posts the potential impact of asbestos exposure, particularly the development of malignant mesothelioma, a debilitating terminal disease with no known cure.

If you or someone you love was exposed to asbestos – through talcum powder, construction products, auto parts, shipbuilding materials or otherwise – you may have legal rights. Contact a skilled asbestos attorney for more information.

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