Published: Sat, March 16, 2019
Business | By Eloise Houston

Woman awarded $42 million in baby powder terminal cancer lawsuit

Woman awarded $42 million in baby powder terminal cancer lawsuit

What's new. Another jury ruled against J&J Wednesday night, and near midday on Thursday, the company's stock was down 0.8% while the broader S&P 500 index was 0.1% higher.

Jurors in state court in Oakland, California, Wednesday held J&J responsible for Teresa Leavitt's mesothelioma, a cancer linked to asbestos exposure. This suit is the first to go to trial since December articles by Reuters and The New York Times alleged the company feared for years that its baby powder might contain asbestos. The company did not provide further details of the alleged errors during the trial. "The jury verdicts are not medical, scientific or regulatory conclusions about a product", it said.

Johnson & Johnson must pay about $29 million to a dying California woman who blamed asbestos-tainted talc for causing her cancer, the company's latest loss in nationwide litigation over its iconic baby powder. The nine-week trial began on January 7 and included testimony from almost a dozen experts on both sides.

Asbestos is a term for a group of minerals often found near talc, which is widely used in cosmetics.

Asbestos is made up of six minerals that form together as crystalline fibers.

About 8 out of 10 people with mesothelioma have been exposed to asbestos.

While asbestos is classified as a known carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and other groups, the ACS says the science on whether talcum powder causes cancer is more ambiguous.

If swallowed, these fibers can reach the abdominal lining, where they can cause mesothelioma.

The jury deliberated for two days before delivering its verdict.

The lawsuit was brought by Terry Leavitt, who said she used Johnson's Baby Powder and Shower to Shower - another powder containing talc sold in the past - in the 1960s and 1970s and was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2017.

'Yet another jury has rejected J&J´s misleading claims that its talc was free of asbestos, ' said Moshe Maimon, a lawyer for Leavitt, in a statement on Wednesday.

Reuters examined decades of internal company and court documents, and determined that Johnson & Johnson had been aware from 1971 to the early 2000s that its product occasionally contained small amounts of asbestos, but never shared that information outside of the company.

Johnson & Johnson is facing about 13,000 lawsuits around the US.

"It's not clear to us the read-through this case has to the other trials or that these decisions will be upheld on appeal (where the technical merits will likely find a more receptive audience than a jury)", the analysts wrote.

There were serious procedural and evidentiary errors in the proceeding that required us to move for mistrial on eight different points during the proceeding.

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