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Judge shuts down J&J's entire closing argument in talc case

Johnson & Johnson won't be allowed to argue that the plaintiffs' scientific evidence showing some of the company's products contain asbestos is "lawsuit fiction." In her closing argument, J&J's attorney implied that the evidence had been falsified.

"When you don't have evidence, sometimes you have to create it," she said, before telling jurors that "you can see the difference between science, the truth and facts in the real world, and lawsuit fiction."

The New Jersey judge overseeing the case called the argument "replete with conduct this court has already warned you about," and said it would be impossible to separate the inappropriate comments from the appropriate ones. Therefore, the judge struck J&J's entire closing argument from the record.

The case involves four people who claim they became ill because of being exposed to asbestos-laced talcum powder as babies. J&J argues that their baby powder and another J&J product, Shower to Shower, do not contain asbestos, or "not enough asbestos to give an ant cancer, let alone a person." However, there is no safe level of asbestos exposure.

Johnson & Johnson has been inundated with lawsuits claiming that its talc-based products are tainted by asbestos. About 13,000 plaintiffs are suing the company after developing mesothelioma or ovarian cancer from using J&J's talc products for routine hygiene.

The results of these lawsuits have been mixed, but in one case, a jury awarded almost $4.7 billion to 22 women who developed ovarian cancer.

Evidence came out last year that appears to show J&J knew its baby powder contained asbestos and tried to cover it up.

Asbestos-related cancers are no joke

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or ovarian cancer and have used talc-based products for hygiene, talk with an attorney. Companies that sell unsafe products may be held strictly liable for the harm they cause.

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