J&J Baby Powder Verdict Reaches Almost $26 Million

Lloyd Doyle
May 27, 2018

The verdict by jurors in West Covina Superior Court on Wednesday includes $21.75 million in compensatory damages and $4 million in punitive damages.

Anderson argued she used J&J's talc products on her children in the 1970s and on herself in the 1980s and 1990s when she would powder her hands and feet while bowling.

A California jury delivered a $25.75 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson for failing to inform customers its baby powder contains asbestos, leading to a woman developing pleural mesothelioma.

"We continue to believe that the daily use of baby powder on Bertila from birth led to her death", Swett said.

"The talc in Johnson's Baby Powder does not contain asbestos, which is supported by more than 50 years of independent, non-litigation driven scientific evaluations".

"We're disappointed the jury did not reach a unanimous verdict for Johnson & Johnson", the company said in a statement emailed to Reuters.

J&J said it would appeal.

Christopher Swett, a lawyer for the family of Boyd-Bostic, said in a statement that the plaintiffs would retry the case at the earliest opportunity.

The verdict comes less than two months after Johnson & Johnson's first loss in an asbestos-related talcum powder lawsuit.

Last month, a 46-year-old investment banker from New Jersey was awarded another $80 million in his case against J&J, bringing the cases total value to $116 million. This came just five days after J&J was found 70 percent liable ($25.9 million) for compensatory damages awarded to plaintiff Stephen Lanzo III and his wife. J&J didn't break out the number of ovarian cancer cases versus the number of mesothelioma cases allegedly tied to talc.

J&J is battling some 9,000 cases claiming its talc products cause ovarian cancer, but litigants have recently focused on claims based on alleged asbestos contamination.

J&J has steadfastly maintained that its baby powder has never contained asbestos and rejected calls to put a warning on its white bottles known the world over.

The fact that the jury asked the question at all "is a bad sign for J&J, " added law professor Carl Tobias of the University of Richmond in Virginia.

Johnson & Johnson faces numerous lawsuits over the cancer claim.

Damages could still grow as the jury debates whether to award punitive damages, Anderson's lawyer, Chris Panatier, said, declining to comment further.

In 2015, a California jury awarded mesothelioma sufferer Judith Winkel $13 million in her case against Colgate-Palmolive, based on her exposure to asbestos in its Cashmere Bouquet powder.

Retired Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court Jean Toal made the decision after the 12-member jury informed her they could only make a determination regarding drug store chain Rite Aid, the other defendant in the case.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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