(March 13, 2019) Just this week, a California jury found Johnson & Johnson liable for causing a woman’s mesothelioma because its talcum-based baby powder contained cancer-causing asbestos.
The Oakland jury deliberated for roughly two days before concluding with a verdict in favor of plaintiff, Teresa E. Leavitt. The jury found the asbestos-contaminated baby powder was a substantial factor in causing her cancer.
The 12-person jury found J&J failed to adequately warn of the potential risk of cancer in its product, adding that Leavitt would have redirected her use of it had she known the full scope of the facts.
Many jurors found the powder’s “failure to perform safely” was a large factor in her mesothelioma.
Talcum powder has been at the center of controversy for quite some time. Talcum powder is derived from talc, a soft fine mineral that is useful in wicking away moisture.
Colloquially known as “baby powder”, it has been used for decades and is a common household name. Asbestos is a fine mineral similar to talc. The two are found together in underground mineral deposits.
Late in the 1970s, researchers found asbestos in various baby powder products. They tried to warn the public about the potential for mesothelioma because of this. J&J has denied claims that its products contained asbestos and caused cancer. However, there has been an incredulous amount of lawsuits over baby powder causing mesothelioma and ovarian cancer.
The jury found Johnson & Johnson was found 78 percent liable while J&J Consumer Inc. was found 20 percent liable. The company that provided the talc, Cyprus Mines, was found 2 percent liable for the injuries.
As is the story for many people across the world, Leavitt was first exposed to baby powder when she was a child in the 1960s living in the Philippines. She continued using it after her family moved to the United States in 1968, powdering her hair and face with the product well into the 1970s.
Now, Leavitt suffers from mesothelioma, an aggressive form of cancer that typically occurs after exposure to asbestos. According to the National Cancer Institute, malignant mesothelioma can show up at least 20 years after exposure.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for the disease. Life expectancy ranges anywhere from 12 to 21 months after a diagnosis.
The breakdown of the award was divvied up between her and her partner, Dean McElroy.
Leavitt was awarded $291,000 for past medical expenses; $1 million for future medical expenses; $1.2 million for a loss of earnings; $7 million for past physical pain and mental suffering; $15 million for future physical pain and mental suffering.
McElroy was awarded $2 million for past loss of love and companionship and $3 million for future loss of love and companionship.
Contact a Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer or mesothelioma and you were a user of Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder, you are not alone. To learn how our talcum powder lawyers can help you and your family, please contact us for a Free Case Evaluation. We would be honored to speak with you and will respond promptly to every inquiry we receive.