J&J Loses Case Linking Mesothelioma to Asbestos in Talc

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On Thursday, a New Jersey state court jury ordered Johnson & Johnson and Imerys SA to pay at least $37 million in damages in the case.

A jury awarded $30 million to a man who was diagnosed with mesothelioma after using talcum powder for decades.

Johnson & Johnson now faces more than 6,600 talc-related lawsuits.

Lanzo's suit claimed Johnson & Johnson knew its products contained asbestos, but didn't properly warn its consumers.

Johnson & Johnson is seeking to reverse those verdicts.

"J&J knew nearly 49 years ago there was asbestos in their talc, " Maimon said, according to a Bloomberg report.

"While we are disappointed with this decision, the jury has further deliberations to conduct in this trial and we will reserve additional comment until the case is fully completed", Carol Goodrich, a J&J spokeswoman, said in an emailed statement. Colgate-Palmolive Co. agreed a year ago to settle a lawsuit claiming its talcum-powder products caused a Pennsylvania woman to develop mesothelioma.

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But there's more. The jury is to now decide whether the couple should also be awarded millions in punitive damages next week, which are generally assessed as punishment for unethical or negligent actions.

J&J won the first case to go trial over mesothelioma claims tied to its baby powder when a California jury ruled in November that the product wasn't responsible for causing a 61-year-old woman's cancer.

Attorneys for Lanzo, 46, of Verona, argued the investment banker contracted mesothelioma as a result of applying the company's products to his skin for more than 30 years.

Imerys spokesperson Gwen Myers told CVN the company will appeal the jury's decision, noting that studies of miners who were exposed to talc on a daily basis didn't show any link between the mineral and mesothelioma.

J&J denied the allegations and said Johnson's Baby Powder does not contain asbestos or cause cancer.

Throughout a lengthy trial that began in late January, attorneys for the Lanzos accused J&J of withholding information from consumers about the health risks of asbestos in its talc-based products for almost half a century. A defense expert said the fiber could not have come from talc, which proves "beyond a shadow of a doubt that Mr. Lanzo had exposure to asbestos in a way that could not possibly have emanated from J&J powder", according to a report from Law360. An upcoming trial contending cancer from the use of talcum powder is scheduled for May in SC.

A possible link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer was first noted when a 1971 study found talc particles in ovarian tumors.

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