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Johnson & Johnson wins California: more cases to go

The world-wide famous Johnson & Johnson talc has been embroiled in lawsuits for a long time now. Let take a look at the recent victory of Johnson & Johnson.

A California jury on Thursday ruled in favor of Johnson & Johnson in a lawsuit by a woman who said she developed the cancer mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos in the company’s talc-based products including J&J’s Baby Powder.

The California case was brought by Tina Herford, a California resident who claimed she developed the cancer mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos in the company’s talc-based products including J&J’s Baby Powder.

She was hardly the first to do so. J&J is separately battling thousands of cases claiming those products can also cause ovarian cancer. Last month, another woman who requested $417 million claiming talc gave her ovarian cancer was overruled by a California court. 

This, however, was the first time a plaintiff has claimed that the talcum powder contains asbestos.  

Nonetheless, on Thursday, the jury in Los Angeles Superior Court ruled in favor of Johnson & Johnson.  

The jury also went in favor of talc supplier Imerys Talc.

J&J welcomed the verdict, saying it believed that setbacks dealt with individuals pursuing ovarian cancer cases had ‘forced plaintiff attorneys to pivot to yet another baseless theory.’

‘Johnson’s Baby Powder has been around since 1894 and it does not contain asbestos or cause mesothelioma or ovarian cancer,’ J&J said.

The verdict was watched through an online broadcast by Courtroom View Network.

Chris Panatier, Herford’s lawyer, in an email cautioned against reading too much into a single verdict.

“It is a matter of time before juries begin holding them to account,” he said.

The short victory was followed by a loss. Minutes later, the firm lost a $247 million case in Texas over faulty hip replacements made by its orthopedic brand.

Mesothelioma is a deadly form of cancer closely associated with exposure to asbestos. It affects the delicate tissue that lines body cavities, most often around the lungs, but also in the abdomen and elsewhere.

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.

J&J faces lawsuits by around 5,500 plaintiffs nationally asserting talc-related claims, largely based on claims it failed to warn women about the risk of developing ovarian cancer from the products.

In five trials in Missouri involving ovarian cancer lawsuits, juries found J&J liable four times and awarded the plaintiffs $307 million. In California, a jury awarded a now-deceased woman $417 million.

But in October, J&J scored major victories when a Missouri appellate court threw out the first verdict there for $72 million and a California judge tossed the $417 million verdict.

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