After a two month trial, jurors sought justice for plaintiff Stephen Lanzo III and his wife. Lanzo claims the company’s products, namely baby powder, contained asbestos which led to his contracting of the disease.
J&J Responsible For 70% of Talc Trial Verdict
Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay 70 percent of Lanzo’s claim, while its supplier, Imerys Talc America Inc., was ascribed the other 30 percent. The jurors verdict concluded Lanzo had been exposed to asbestos through J&J’s baby powder (from when he was an infant) and its Shower to Shower line from 1972 to 2003.
Furthermore, the jury found that between 1972 and 2003, J&J manufactured, sold or distributed the defectively designed product which also lacked an adequate warning during that same timeframe.
The lucrative ingredient Talc, has been manufactured in the J&J’s products for decades and is inundated within the cosmetic, health, and beauty market.
Talcum powder, or its more notable name “baby powder”, had been a standard household item for generations. From parents using it on infants to prevent diaper rash to usage as a deodorant, its moisture-wicking abilities have been a convenience for consumers unsuspecting of potential health risks.
Talcum powder is a fine mineral substance that averts moisture which is helpful to prevent chafing. However, the particulates have been linked to carrying asbestos thus putting unsuspecting users at risk of lung infection and possibly cancer.
What is mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a form of lung cancer and primarily manifests after exposure to asbestos. According to the National Cancer Institute, malignant mesothelioma shows up at least 20 years after exposure. This raises concern about the presence of asbestos-containing products that people were exposed to before they could even walk.
The aggressive cancer affects organ tissues that line body cavities, primarily in the lungs.
The Centers for Disease Control released a report in 2017 that indicates between 2,400 and 2,800 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year. There is no cure for the disease and life expectancy for patients is between 12 and 21 months after a diagnosis has been made.
Johnson & Johnson Talc Lawsuits on The Rise
Johnson & Johnson is not new to being hit with lawsuits revolving around its talc-based products. They are currently being hit with thousands of talc lawsuits claiming its products cause ovarian cancer.
Additional Information: Talc Ovarian Cancer Lawsuits
Lanzo’s is the second trial in the country revolving around mesothelioma and talcum powder. Last year in California, Tina Herford claimed the same companies were liable for her terminal mesothelioma. Though she lost the suit against J&J and Imerys, that does not negate the concerning correlation between talcum powder and cancer of the lungs.
Reuter’s reported in November 2017 after her trial that, “Herford’s lawyers contended that internal J&J documents showed the New Jersey-based company for decades was aware of the presence of asbestos in the talc that was used in its products but kept selling them anyway.”
During the Lanzo case, J&J attorney Mike Brock of Kirkland & Ellis LLP, argued that based on company conducted tests, asbestos never turned up in products lining store shelves or talc mines. However, Lanzo’s attorney, countered by saying the company used tests that sided in its favor; those that did not detect asbestos.
In his closing argument to the jury, the plaintiffs lawyer said that “the evidence is overwhelming” Lanzo was exposed to asbestos. He even indicated J&J could have used an alternative ingredient, cornstarch, instead of talcum powder in its product lines.